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ACLU Defends Blogger Who Linked Taylor Swift to White Supremacist Groups

Taylor Swift
AP Photo/Evan Agostini

Rather than denouncing white supremacy, the singer sent a cease a desist letter. 

Nothing like a good clapback from the ACLU to start off the week of your next album release, right? That's the scenario facing Taylor Swift thanks to a petty cease and desist letter she sent to a blogger on PopFront, a website with barely over 1000 Facebook likes.

In an article as subtle as Swift's lyrics, "Swiftly to the alt-right: Taylor subtly gets the lower case kkk in formation," Meghan Herning calls out the singer's very real reputation as an alt-right darling and alleges that her single "Look What You Made Me Do," and it's accompanying video, play into "the same subtle, quiet white support of a racial hierarchy," which is obviously ridiculous. Swift doesn't have time to focus on supporting white supremacy through her lyrics and the girl doesn't have a subtle bone in her body. She's too busy nurturing her image as a victim and creating an entire album about her reputation and image while a white supremacist is in the White House.

In the article, Herning includes a screenshot from the video alongside and image of Adolf Hitler and calls out her lack of public political advocacy. "Taylor's [political] silence is not innocent, it is calculated," she says. "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."

Related | Taylor Swift Tried Really Hard To Be a Villain in 'Look What You Made Me Do' Video

Like her album rollout, Swift's attempt to silence the blogger has not gone as planned. After finding the post, Swift had her lawyer, William J. Briggs, II, send a cease and desist letter to PopFront on October 25th that accused the website of publishing a story "replete with demonstrable and offensive falsehoods" that "is a baseless fiction masquerading as fact and completely misrepresents Ms. Swift."

In response to that, Herning contacted the ACLU, who have come out with their own letter of support for PopFront claiming that the article is protected under free speech laws-with a subtle burn thrown in for good measure: "Criticism is never pleasant, but a celebrity has to shake it off, even if the critique may damage her reputation." The ACLU is also quick to point out that, despite Swift's best wishes, the world doesn't revolve around her and trying to silence this blogger in Trump's America has implications far bigger implications.

"This tactic can set a dangerous precedent because it would mean any public figure could chill any criticism levied at them," it reads. "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. The press should not be bullied by legal action nor frightened into submission from covering any subject it chooses."

Call it what you want, but let's just remember that at a time of unprecedented sociopolitical unrest, she decided to send a cease and desist letter instead of simply renouncing her alleged ties to white supremacy.

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Chris Thomas