The American Civil Liberties Union issued a statement on Monday, defending a blogger who linked Taylor Swift to white supremacy in a post titled "Swiftly to the alt-right: Taylor subtly gets the lower case kkk in formation.”
In the September 5 post, PopFront writer Meghan Herning discusses Swift's "Look What You Made Me Do" and the rise of nazism in America, noting that some white supremacists have embraced Swift. The post also includes a screenshot from the "Look What You Made Me Do" video placed next to a photo of Hitler at a Nazi rally.
Ultimately, Herning writes, "Taylor’s [political] silence is not innocent, it is calculated. 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.”
In the statement on Monday, the ACLU disclosed that Swift's lawyer, William J. Briggs, II, sent a cease and desist order to Herning on October 25. “The [PopFront] story is replete with demonstrable and offensive falsehoods which bear no relation to reality or the truth about Ms. Swift," the letter reads. "It appears to be a malicious attack against Ms. Swift that goes to great lengths to portray Ms. Swift as some sort of white supremacist figurehead, which is a baseless fiction masquerading as fact and completely misrepresents Ms. Swift.”
The ACLU referred to Herning's post as "a mix of political speech and critical commentary" and classified it as "opinion protected by the First Amendment." Herning published her own response on PopFront, writing, "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."
Representatives for Taylor Swift were not immediately available for comment.