The ACLU has sent a strong letter to Taylor Swift following her decision to threaten a California blogger who wrote an unsourced article linking her to both the alt-right and the KKK. According to The Washington Post, the ACLU says that Swift is "attempt[ing] to suppress constitutionally protected speech."
Swift's suit is in response to an article on a little-known pop culture blog called PopFront. In an article titled “Swiftly to the alt-right: Taylor subtly gets the lower case kkk in formation," writer Meghan Herning asserts that the pop singer supports Hitlerian ideology, amongst other confusing claims. In short: Herning says that Swift's failure to denounce the alt-right (who, in fact, have flocked to support the artist) makes her complicit in their misdeeds.
Swift's team sent a letter to Herning, who works as the site's executive editor, saying that the article is “provably false and defamatory.” Swift is “prepared to proceed with litigation” if the story isn’t retracted. No official legal action has yet been taken by Swift.
The Washington Post notes that Swift would have to demonstrate the article was written with “actual malice” to succeed in a defamation lawsuit, considering Swift is a public persona.
“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,” retorted the ACLU in support of Herning. “Criticism is never pleasant, but a celebrity has to shake it off, even if the critique may damage her reputation," continued their letter, with snarky references to Swift's works.
“The press should not be bullied by high-paid lawyers or frightened into submission by legal jargon,” Herning said to Variety. “These scare tactics may have worked for Taylor in the past, but I am not backing down.”
In 2013, Swift employed similar tactics in attempts to destroy images of herself that were overlayed with quotes from Adolph Hitler. Pinterest refused to remove the images.
Swift's team has not replied to requests for comments on the situation.
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