The ACLU has responded to the “meritless” cease and desist letter that Taylor Swift’s lawyer sent to PopFront after they published an article detailing Swift’s popularity among white supremacists and neo-Nazis.
According to The ACLU of Northern California, “This is a completely unsupported attempt to suppress constitutionally protected speech,”
On Sep. 5, PopFront editor Meghan Herning wrote a post titled “Swiftly to the alt-right: Taylor subtly gets the lower case kkk in formation.” The post is a mix of political speech and critical commentary, and discusses the resurgence of white supremacy and the fact that some white supremacists have embraced Swift. It also provides a critical interpretation of some of Swift’s music, lyrics, and videos. The post ends by calling on Swift to personally denounce white supremacy, saying “silence in the face of injustice means support for the oppressor.”
On Oct. 25, Herning received an intimidating letter from Swift and her attorney labeling the blog post as defamatory and demanding that she issue a retraction, remove the story from all media sources, and cease and desist. The letter threatened a lawsuit.
Matt Cagle, Another ACLU attorney, added, “Not in her wildest dreams can Ms. Swift use copyright law to suppress this exposure of a threat to constitutionally protected speech.”
Swift’s popularity among white supremacists and the alt-right isn’t anything new. Breitbart famously spent an entire day tweeting the lyrics to Look What You Made Me Do with a variety of news stories.
I've got a list of names and yours is in red, underlined
I check it once, then I check it twice, oh! https://t.co/kLlH7PJDwd
— Breitbart News (@BreitbartNews) August 25, 2017
Unfortunately, copying Benyonce’s Super Bowl dance routine and aesthetic for the Look What You Made Me Do music video didn’t drive off fans who believe Swift is the embodiment of Aryan genetic perfection. The Daily Stormer writer Andre Anglin described Swift as a “pure Aryan goddess” in an interview with Broadly.
“Firstly, Taylor Swift is a pure Aryan goddess, like something out of classical Greek poetry. Athena reborn. That’s the most important thing,”
“It is also an established fact that Taylor Swift is secretly a Nazi and is simply waiting for the time when Donald Trump makes it safe for her to come out and announce her Aryan agenda to the world. Probably, she will be betrothed to Trump’s son, and they will be crowned American royalty.”
Swift’s reluctance to vocalize her political views has opened the door to criticism about her silence and even more outlandish rumors about her “secretly [being] a Nazi.” While her cease and desist letter claims Swift has “no obligation to campaign for any particular political candidate or broadcast her political views,” it still seems like a strange move for someone who’s had Hitler quotes associated with her since 2013.
The PopFront article ended with a call to action Swift, urging her to speak out,
“And while pop musicians are not respected world leaders, they have a huge audience and their music often reflects their values. So, Taylor’s silence is not innocent, it is calculated. And if that is not true, she needs to state her beliefs out loud for the world- no matter what fan base she might lose because in America 2017 silence in the face of injustice means support for the oppressor.”