Taylor Swift’s has been slammed by civil liberties campaigners for failing to withdraw “empty” legal threats against a blogger.
Last month blogger Meghan Herning, who edits activism and culture website PopFront, received a letter from Swift’s lawyer William J. Briggs, II, demanding a story criticizing the singer for failing to speak out on politics and racism be removed.
In response, lawyers from the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) accused the Shake It Off singer of shutting down free speech, and requesting she withdraw the threat of legal action by Monday.
On Thursday ACLU attorney Michael Risher said his organisation had not heard back from Swift, and accused her of making “empty” threats to take legal action.
“The deadline has passed and we have not heard from Ms. Swift or her attorney. Their failure to respond shows that the letter to Ms. Herning was full of empty threats and designed to intimidate,” he said in a statement.
Representatives for Swift did not respond to a request for comment.
Swift’s legal team particularly took issue with Herning’s contention that she had failed to explicitly condemn white supremacists who have tried to adopt the singer as an icon – claiming it was defamatory.
Her lawyer wrote that Herning’s ascription of political beliefs to Swift constituted defamation and pointed to a Huffington Post article containing a past legal statement denouncing social media users who had associated her with Adolf Hitler.
However, in response to the letter, Herning said, “These scare tactics may have worked for Taylor in the past, but I am not backing down.”
Although the singer does not comment publicly on politics, in a 2009 Rolling Stone interview she hinted she’d backed then U.S. President Barack Obama in the previous election, saying she was “glad” she was a first-time voter when he became America’s leader.