By Shannon Frost Greenstein
Taylor Swift and her legal team sprang into action a few days ago, and are threatening to sue left-wing music blog PopFront, located in Northern California. The blog’s misstep? A post back in September compared Swift’s public image to the platform of the “alt-right”, and superimposed a screencap of Taylor next to Adolf Hitler.
Titled “Swiftly to the alt-right: Taylor subtly gets the lower case kkk in formation” and posted by editor Meghan Herning, the piece claims that Swift’s “Look What You Made Me Do” is a defense of privilege and an affirmation of white superiority. It alleges the track is promoting anger at “(whites) being replaced by other races”, and paints Swift as the blonde poster child for the alt-right movement.
Not surprisingly, Taylor Swift and her team are crying defamation for the comparison to Neo-Nazism. However, this hot-button issue has not escaped the public’s notice, and the ACLU of Northern California is now involved.
On October 25th, PopFront editor Herning received a letter from Swift’s legal crew…see a redacted version here…demanding a retraction of the post and no further promotion of the content. The ACLU, in response, sent a whopping six-page letter of their own, defending PopFront’s first amendment right to constitutionally protected free speech. Senior Staff Attorney Michael Risher and other ACLU attorneys determined the legal claims made by Swift’s attorney are, in fact, unsupported. (You can read the ACLU’s full statement on the matter here.)
The ACLU has requested a response from Swift and team by November 13th, confirming that they will not proceed with a lawsuit against the blog.