Just four days before the release of her newest album, a letter from Taylor Swift's attorney demanding that a website retract and delete an article critical of Swift has drawn a sharp (but also winking) rebuke from the American Civil Liberties Union.
A letter dated October 25 and addressed to Meghan Herning, the executive editor of a small California blog named PopFront, claimed that the site's article titled "Swiftly to the alt-right: Taylor subtly gets the lower case kkk in formation" was defamatory and that if it was not retracted and removed, "Ms. Swift is prepared to proceed with litigation," according to a copy of it made public by the ACLU.
(The letter's author, attorney William J. Briggs II, did not respond to a request confirming its authenticity, nor did a Swift representative respond to a request confirming that Briggs represents Swift.)
The article in question — which veers between Kanye West's interruption of Swift at an awards show, the appropriation of Swift by white nationalists, the eugenics movement of the early 20th century, World War II and American silence toward the Nazi Party and the lyrics of Swift's recent single "Look What You Made Me Do" — ultimately argues that Swift's perceived silence on political issues "is not innocent, it is calculated." The article argues that by not tacitly embracing progressive politics, Swift "could well be construed as her lending support to the voices rising against embracing diversity and inclusion emblematic of Trump supporters."
The article's rhetorical veracity is not the point for the ACLU, however — only that PopFront was stating an opinion about Swift, not asserting any facts.