Music

Taylor Swift Is Using This Dumb Lawsuit To Try And Prove She’s Not A White Supremacist

This is classic Taylor bullshit.

We don’t know who Taylor Swift voted for the in the US Presidential election. We don’t know because she hasn’t told us — unlike virtually every other high-profile popstar, Swift didn’t publicly express her support for either candidate.

The choice to stay mute during one of the most politically-turbulent times in US history has earned her a lot of scrutiny: several publications (Junkee included) criticised her silence on Trump as an act of cowardice, and a backflip on the feminism she embraced to promote her last album, 1989.

Swift’s new album Reputation comes out in three days, and she’s still yet to give any interviews, make any public appearances, or say anything about Donald Trump.

But there’s one way to stay out of the public eye and still make your views known — and that’s using your lawyers as a mouthpiece.

It’s Lawsuit Time

Today, news broke that Swift had served a blog called PopFront with a cease and desist letter.

The letter demands PopFront take down an article they published last month which alleges that Swift’s silence on Trump is “not innocent, it’s calculated,” makes note of her vocal alt-right support base and draws parallels between imagery in the ‘Look What You Made Me Do’ video and Nazi Germany. Swift’s lawyers argue the article is defamatory and that if PopFront does not comply, Swift could “proceed with litigation”.

In a new post, PopFront have vowed not to comply with Swift’s “scare tactics”, while the ACLU — an American organisation devoted to fighting for civil liberties — have already come to their defence.

PopFront have also leaked the four-page cease and desist letter sent by Swift’s lawyers, and there’s a lot to digest.

The cease and desist letter describes PopFront’s article as a “malicious attack on 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.”

It also calls PopFront’s assertion that Swift’s silence around US politics proof that she supports Donald Trump a “hideous falsehood”, and that basing the allegation that Swift has alt-right views because she did not campaign for Hillary Clinton “preposterous” and “absurd”.

“Ms. Swift has no obligation to campaign for any particular political candidate or broadcast her political views, and the fact that her political views are not public enough for your taste does not give you the authority to presume what her political opinions may be,” the letter states.

“Silence does not mean support.”

Why It Matters

The letter is important, because it’s the first time Swift has — even ever-so-slightly — distanced herself from Donald Trump.

It also really, really, really wants to make clear that Taylor Swift does not support the alt-right.  Swift’s lawyers state that their letter to stand as “yet another unequivocal denouncement by Ms. Swift of white supremacy and the alt-right,” and says that the popstar “does not approve of any association with such repugnant groups”.

If you were wondering what those other “denouncements” of white supremacism were? The letter points to two articles, only neither of them actually contain any comment from Swift herself. In fact, both of them are just statements from her lawyer. One is a Huffington Post article that contains a letter sent from Swift’s lawyers calling association with Hitler “offensive”. The other, a Washington Post story, Swift’s lawyers say she is “not amused” by the allegations of ties to the alt-right.

But if this is Swift’s way of distancing herself from Trump and alt-right, it’s a pretty weak one. Why threaten a very small blog with legal action over claims that are already all over the internet? Why use your lawyers to get a message out when you’ve got a Twitter account with 85 million followers?

Taylor, some advice: if you want the world to know you’re not a white supremacist, maybe just come out and say that you’re not a white supremacist?