The Alt-Right Creates More Chaos in the Music Business
By Dawoud Kringle
As reported n a recent DooBeeDoo article examining the music of the alt-right, young alt-rightists / white supremacists plagiarized 80s Synthwave, and use it to promote their political agenda.
Their newest move, however, is to co-opt the music of Taylor Swift for the same purpose.
Music business professionals have been aware of some of the recent activism Swift; most notably her resistance against the almost nonexistent royalties artists receive from Spotify.
Taylor Swift is not a white supremacist. She doesn’t identify as a neo-Nazi, and there is no evidence to suggest that she is privately a white supremacist or nazi sympathizer. However, just as artists such as Cher or Barbara Streisand inadvertently become “gay icons,” Swift has been dubbed an “Aryan Goddess” and “Avatar of European Imperialism” by Andrew Anglin, founder of the Daily Stormer website, alt-rightists on 4chan message boards and elsewhere. Angiln wrote that “The entire alt-right patiently awaits the day when we can lay down our swords and kneel before her throne […] as she commands us to go forth and slaughter the subhuman enemies of the Aryan race.” Angolan also said of Swift being “pure in Aryan spirit” unlike contemporaries like Miley Cyrus and Kim Kardashian. “It’s incredible really that she’s surrounded by these filthy, perverted Jews, and yet she remains capable of exuding 1950s purity, femininity and innocence.”
These absurd proclamations use an effective blurring of the line between comedy and hate speech to propagate their demented ideology.
It’s possible this began in 2013 when a teenager named Emily Pattinson began overlaying quotes by Adolf Hitler on Pinterest photos of Taylor Swift as a joke. Swift’s lawyer J. Douglas Baldridge, sent Pinterest a stern letter, asking for the images to be removed. Pinterest cited parody laws and refused to take it down. The same images now appear on The Daily Stormer.
In some circles, this has generated some criticism toward Swift. Aaron Bady of the Pacific Standard accused Swift of being “nostalgic for a time when you could be nostalgic for white supremacy” after her Africa-set video for Wildest Dreams. Hollywood Reporter writer Camille Paglia referred to her as a “Nazi Barbie.” And in 2009, a photo emerged and circulated of her dancing with a man in a white t-shirt with a red swastika.
On Sept. 5, 2017, Meghan Herning, an editor for the website PopFront, posted an article titled “Swiftly to the alt-right: Taylor subtly gets the lower case kkk in formation.” Herning called for Swift to publicly denounce white supremacy. The article criticized what they called Swift’s “silence in the face of injustice” and “support for the oppressor.”
Swift threatened to file a lawsuit against Herning. In a letter from Swift’s lawyer on Oct. 25 demanding that PopFront issue a retraction and take the story down by Oct. 24, a day before the letter is dated. The letter also privately declared the singer’s denouncement of white supremacist movements, but demanded that Herning not publish it under copyright protection.
The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) is challenging the lawsuit. ACLU attorneys have determined that there is no legal basis to Swift’s threat of a lawsuit, largely because Herning’s piece is based on opinion, which is protected under the First Amendment. They later published the letter, claiming that copyright law does not apply because “this is not a commercial use, and there is no market for this letter, in part because it is tied to the facts of this specific case.” Hearing later said “The press should not be bullied by high-paid lawyers or frightened into submission by legal jargon.”
ACLU attorney Michael Risher said “This is a completely unsupported attempt to suppress constitutionally protected speech.”They also requested that Swift and her attorneys send a letter by Nov. 13 stating that they will not bring charges against Herning.
It is possible the alt-right are taking great delight in the controversy and publicity this is generating.