The American Civil Liberties Union is swooping in to defend a blogger who criticised Taylor Swift for her current silence on political issues, accusing her of enabling an alt-right and white supremacist fanbase around her to exist.
Writer Meghan Herning, whose piece was published on PopFront Magazine, which currently has 201 followers on Twitter, received a letter from Swift's attorneys demanding she retract the article, threatening to sue if she did not comply.
Titled "Swiftly to the alt-right: Taylor subtly gets the lower case kkk in formation", Herning's piece claims Swift's single "Look What You Made Me Do" contains "dog whistles to white supremacy in the lyrics".
Lines like "I rose up from the dead, I do it all the time", quoted by alt-right publication Breitbart on Twitter, are equated by Herning to ideas that white supremacy has gained new traction in the wake of Trump's election.
She also compares shots from the video where, dressed in leather, Swift addresses an army of followers to images of Adolf Hitler. "Taylor lords over an army of models from a podium, akin to what Hitler had in Nazis Germany," she writes. "The similarities are uncanny and unsettling."
The piece makes no sure claim to Swift's political beliefs, but does criticise the pop star for her stark silence on the subject, in an era which has turned many pop stars into political campaigners.
"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," Herning writes.
The letter from Swift's attorney argues the piece "knowingly regurgitates, repeats, and attempts to expand on a malicious lie". It continues, "It appears to be a malicious attack against Ms. Swift that goes to great lengths to portray Ms. Swift as some sort of white supremacist figurehead, which is a baseless fiction masquerading as fact and completely misrepresents Ms. Swift."
Swift has never herself publicly denounced her white supremacist fans. The letter presents itself as "yet another unequivocal denouncement by Ms. Swift of white supremacy and the alt-right", yet Herning is also warned publication of the letter would act as breach of copyright.
The ACLU has denounced Swift's attempt to silence the blog post, naming it a "completely unsupported attempt to suppress constitutionally protected speech."
"Intimidation tactics like these are unacceptable," ACLU attorney Matt Cagle added. "Not in her wildest dreams can Ms. Swift use copyright law to suppress this exposure of a threat to constitutionally protected speech."
The ACLU has requested a response from Swift and her attorney. The Independent has also reached out to representatives of Swift for comment.
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