Leave Tay-Tay alone.
That’s the message that pop superstar Taylor Swift’s legal team delivered to writer Meghan Herming of website PopFront, who wrote an article in September that accused Swift of enabling Nazism and the alt-right.
The musician’s attorneys had good reason to be outraged – amongst other things, Herning tried to tie Swift to President Donald Trump and white racial supremacy, stating “Taylor’s lyrics in ‘Look What You Made Me Do’ seem to play to the same subtle, quiet white support of a racial hierarchy. Many on the alt-right see the song as part of a ‘re-awakening,’ in line with Trump’s rise. At one point in the accompanying music video, Taylor lords over an army of models from a podium, akin to what Hitler had in Nazis Germany. The similarities are uncanny and unsettling.”
No doubt it was the emphatic claim that Taylor Swift “subtly, quietly” supports some sort of white racial hierarchy that drew the ire of her attorneys, plus the article’s declaration that “silence in the face of injustice means support for the oppressor.”
As Fox News reports, the star’s legal team sent a strongly worded letter to Herning on October 25th, asking that PopFront issue a retraction and take the offending aryicle down.
That’s when Herning turned to an unlikely – or completely predictable depending how you look at it – ally in the form of the American Civil Liberties Union.
Apparently Hernimg viewed the threat of a lawsuit as a grave threat to her civil liberties and freedom of speech, and the ACLU emphatically agreed, even defending the claims made in the article in a letter of their own. The letter was later made public on the ACLU website, and states the following.
“Ms. Herning and PopFront will not in any way accede to your attempt to suppress their constitutionally protected speech. The blog post is a mix of core political speech and critical commentary; it discusses current politics in this country, the recent rise of white supremacy, and the fact that some white supremacists have apparently embraced Ms. Swift, along with a critical interpretation of some of Ms. Swift’s music, lyrics, and videos.”
At the end of the 6-page response letter, the ACLU issued an ultimatum to Swift and her legal team, declaring the latter party had until November 13th to decide whether to move forward with the lawsuit.
It does seem truly bizarre that the ACLU views the ability to castigate pop musicians as Nazi sympathizers as the true frontier of free speech rights in the United States, and it seems far-fetched to suppose their adamant defense of Meghan Herning is rooted in constitutional values, not political ones.