The family of late rocker Tom Petty is taking legal action against the campaign of U.S. President Donald Trump after Petty’s 1989 hit “I Won’t Back Down” was played at Trump’s rally in Tulsa, Oklahoma on Saturday.
In a joint statement shared on Twitter, Petty’s daughters, Adria and Annakim, are joined by his widow, Dana, and ex-wife Jane in stating, “Trump was in no way authorized to use this song to further a campaign that leaves too many Americans and common sense behind.”
The statement adds, “Both the late Tom Petty and his family firmly stand against racism and discrimination of any kind. Tom Petty would never want a song of his used for a campaign of hate.”
After pointing out that Petty wrote the song to honour “the underdog,” the statement conludes, “We would hate for fans that are marginalized by this administration to think we were complicit in this usage. Concurrently, we have issued an official cease and desist notice to the Trump campaign.”
— Tom Petty (@tompetty) June 21, 2020
According to the New York Times, Trump campaign manager Brad Parscale had bragged about hundreds of thousands of ticket requests for the Tulsa rally, Trump’s first since the COVID-19 pandemic resulted in the shutdown of large-scale public events.
The campaign reportedly expected such a massive turnout that an outdoor stage had been set up for overflow, with Trump and Vice-President Mike Pence scheduled to speak to the overflow crowd.
That plan was scrapped when the sparsely attended rally in the 19,000-seat arena attracted just 6,200 people, according to an estimate by the fire marshal, with photos from the event showcasing a sea of empty seats.
All those ticket requests, however, were apparently the work of a coordinated effort by teenagers using the TikTok app, ordering huge numbers of rally tickets in order to troll the president.
My 16 year old daughter and her friends in Park City Utah have hundreds of tickets. You have been rolled by America’s teens. @realDonaldTrump you have been failed by your team. You have been deserted by your faithful. No one likes to root for the losing team. @ProjectLincoln https://t.co/VM5elZ57Qp
— Steve Schmidt (@SteveSchmidtSES) June 20, 2020
Petty’s family join numerous other musicians who have blasted Trump for using their songs at his rallies, including Queen, Neil Young, Steven Tyler, Adele, R.E.M., Elton John and more.