ESC

The Secret Service Dropped in on Eminem to Harass Him About Anti-Trump Lyrics

Here’s a fun fact about freedom of speech in the United States: you have way more of it than most people realize. Like a common refrain we hear these days is “hate speech isn’t free speech” but hate speech is absolutely protected by the first amendment. Even threats have to reach a very specific threshold to be illegal, simply saying “I’ll kill you you asshole!” generally isn’t sufficient to rise to the letter of a crime.

Some people who should know this are the Secret Service, who protect the president. Like, for example, if you were to put on a production of Julius Caesar at Shakespeare in the Park where Caesar looks like the President, that’s protected speech.

And if you were a famous rapper who wrote songs about killing people and sampling Dido who wrote a song about killing Ivanka Trump, that would also clearly be protected speech. But that doesn’t mean the Secret Service didn’t take time out their busy schedule to harass Eminem over a song anyway.

Eminem has claimed for years that the Secret Service had payed him a visit, but now there’s actual proof of it. Buzzfeed filed a Freedom of Information Act and it turns out that yes, that actually happened.

This week, the agency turned over 40 pages of documents that prove they did in fact interview the rapper. It turns out their interest in speaking with him was based on “threatening lyrics” from his rap “Framed” that appeared on Revival. The Secret Service characterized Eminem as “exhibiting inappropriate behavior” and noted that he, via the rap, “threatens protectee.”

I don’t think anything that a rapper says on an album “threatens” anyone. If the Secret Service wants to address the real threats to Donald Trump’s life, they need to start bringing Quarter Pounders in for questioning.

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