After her winning lawsuit against the radio DJ who groped her, Taylor Swift was kind of a poster child for fighting the good fight, even if it took her to a courtroom. That may have all come crashing to a halt this week after news got out that the ACLU is calling Swift out for trying to use her high-powered attorneys to stifle a critic.
A blogger named Megan Herning at a small culture site called PopFront wrote a post months ago about how the alt-right has embraced Swift’s music, which is what kicked this whole bizarre story off. Somehow, Swift’s camp found that small, obscure site, and then her lawyer, William J. Briggs II, sent Herning a letter demanding a retraction of the post.
Briggs wrote to Herning that her blog was “provably false and defamatory” and demanded that she remove it from the site and from her social media. He also told Herning that publicizing his letter to her was a violation of copyright law, and that if she didn’t comply, “Ms. Swift is prepared to proceed with litigation.”
Herning, to her credit, is standing up for her First Amendment rights. In a statement, she revealed that she’s being backed by the ACLU.
“The press should not be bullied by high-paid lawyers or frightened into submission by legal jargon,” she wrote. “These scare tactics may have worked for Taylor in the past, but I am not backing down.”
Lawyers for the ACLU say Swift has no case and that forcing Herning to retract her post would violate her right to free speech.
“Intimidation tactics like these are unacceptable,” one ACLU attorney wrote. “Not in her wildest dreams can Ms. Swift use copyright law to suppress this exposure of a threat to constitutionally protected speech.”
In an official letter to Swift’s attorneys, the ACLU also trolled her with some of her own lyrics.
“Criticism is never pleasant, but a celebrity has to shake it off, even if the critique may damage her reputation,” the letter read.
With her new album set to drop this Friday, this is probably not the kind of press Swift is looking for. But she has certainly weathered bad press before, and Swifties will stick by her side through anything, so we’re sure she’s going to make it out of this OK.