The ACLU has announced that it’s stepping up to defend Meghan Herning, an editor for PopFront who recently received a threatening letter from Taylor Swift and her attorney over a blog post called “Swiftly to the alt-right: Taylor subtly gets the lower case kkk in formation.” The piece was about how white supremacists have embraced Swift as one of their own, believing she has been hiding racist dog whistles in her lyrics, and though it reaches a bit—probably because the people ascribing Nazi ideology to “Look What You Made Me Do” are reaching a lot—the main point is that Herning believes Swift should speak out one way or another and make it clear what her beliefs actually are.
Swift and/or her lawyer apparently took offense to this, sending a cease and desist letter to Herning that demanded she issue a retraction and remove the story from all social media accounts. The ACLU says the letter also tried to use copyright law as a justification for preventing Herning from saying anything about the letter in public, while also claiming that it should serve as the “unequivocal denouncement by Ms. Swift of white supremacy and the alt-right”—even though the copyright bit would mean that Herning isn’t allowed to tell anyone that Swift is denouncing the white supremacists.
The ACLU says Swift’s legal claims are “unsupported” because the blog post in question is protected by the First Amendment, and in a statement Herning said, “these scare tactics may have worked for Taylor in the past, but I am not backing down.”