Having been accused of practically embracing white supremacist fans in the lyrics of her music, Taylor Swift is hitting back at the writer of the piece, demanding a retraction and apology – or else.
As Stereogum reports, Swift has taken particular issue with Meghan Herning, editor of a minor blog named PopFront with just over 1,000 Facebook likes, after a post on the blog (titled ‘Swiftly to the alt-right: Taylor subtly gets the lower case kkk in formation’) argued that the pop star curries favour with white supremacists, hinting to them that she shares their beliefs through “dog whistles to white supremacy in the lyrics of her latest single.
“Taylor’s silence is not innocent, it is calculated,” Herning continues, arguing that Swift is refusing to openly denounce a section of her fanbase. “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.”
“Many on the alt-right see the song as part of a ‘re-awakening,’ in line with Trump’s rise,” Herning argues, discussing supposed undertones of ‘Look What You Made Me Do’. “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. (sic) The similarities are uncanny and unsettling”
Herning argues that Taylor Swift’s comeback single courts the alt-right
As a result, Herning has now received a letter from one of Swift’s attorney’s, deeming the article to be “provably false and defamatory” and demanding an apology and retraction immediately under threat of a defamation suit.
As Stereogum notes, however, the ACLU of Northern California has sided with Herning, claiming the lawsuit is “meritless” while defending the piece as “a mix of political speech and critical commentary”, while the writer has pointed to similar pieces by outlets including Vice and Complex that received no such threats.
ACLU lawyer Michael Risher claims Swift’s lawsuit is “a completely unsupported attempt to suppress constitutionally protected speech,” while colleague Matt Cagle even took the opportunity to slip a sly gag into his legal opinion.
“Criticism is never pleasant, but a celebrity has to shake it off, even if the critique may damage her reputation,” he writes, adding “not in her wildest dreams can Ms. Swift use copyright law to suppress this exposure of a threat to constitutionally protected speech.”
Herning now has an ally in her legal battle, it seems, with the ACLU now requesting a response from Swift’s lawyers assuring that they won’t continue with their legal action, and we’ll just have to see what this bad blood between a fledgling publication and one of the biggest names in music.