Published: Wed, November 08, 2017
Entertaiment | By Lawrence Myers

Taylor Swift Threatens to Sue Writer of Negative Article, ACLU Responds

Taylor Swift Threatens to Sue Writer of Negative Article, ACLU Responds

In her post titled "Swiftly to the alt-right: Taylor subtly gets the lower case kkk in formation" on entertainment site PopFront, Meghan Herning wrote about how Swift has become "an icon of white supremacist, nationalists, and other fringe groups" especially when it comes to the song "Look What You Made Me Do", and it's accompanying video.

"Taylor's lyrics in "Look What You Made Me Do" seem to play to the same subtle, quiet white support of a racial hierarchy. The similarities are uncanny and unsettling", the post reads.

In their press release, the ACLU links to a letter they say Herning received from Swift's attorney William J. Briggs II, instructing her to remove her post.

A day after the piece went live, Taylor Swift's legal team threatened to sue PopFront if it failed to take down Herning's article. Swift as some sort of white supremacist figurehead, which is a baseless fiction masquerading as fact.

PopFront have also leaked the four-page cease and desist letter sent by Swift's lawyers, and there's a lot to digest. The organization reviewed the situation, determined the author did nothing legally wrong, and sent back their own note.

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Joseph Kahn, the director of a half-dozen music videos by Swift, including the one for Look What You Made Me Do, weighed in on the flap on Twitter.

The ACLU also added some cheeky references to Taylor's music in their comeback.

The ACLU is insisting that the post is not defamation and has requested Swift and her attorney respond by November 13 to confirm they will not pursue legal actions.

It also threatens litigation should PopFront decline to issue a retraction no later than October 24, remove the article from all media sources, and cease and desist the article from further dissemination or publication. "Swift is clear", the letter reads.

In a PopFront post on Monday, both Broadly, a Vice vertical "devoted to representing the multiplicity of women's experiences", and Complex Media were cited as publishing similar articles addressing the alt-right's appropriation of Swift. At a time when the press is under constant attack from the highest branches of government, this cease and desist letter is far more insidious than Swift and her lawyer may understand.

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Swift by damaging her reputation with her fans. The ACLU responded with a letter of its own to Swift and her attorney, requested a response by November 13 confirming that they will not pursue a lawsuit.

In their response letter to Swift's attorneys, replete with puns from Swift's song lyrics, the ACLU argued that Herning's post was a statement of opinion that is protected by the First Amendment.

It also suggests that because Taylor, 27, hasn't come out and condemned Trump or white supremacy - she is known for not engaging in political debates like some of her peers - she is as good as supporting it. 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.

"PopFront will not in any way accede to your attempt to suppress their constitutionally protected speech", the ACLU wrote in a letter made public on November 6.

"Intimidation tactics like these are unacceptable", ACLU attorney Matt Cagle states.

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