Leonard Cohen fans were not impressed Thursday after his song “Hallelujah” was played twice during the Republican National Convention.
The late Canadian musician’s song was played after Donald Trump’s speech, with Tori Kelly’s version also being used during the fireworks.
Variety claimed the track was “sandwiched right between ‘She’s a Grand Old Flag’ and Lee Greenwood’s ‘God Bless the USA’ as pyrotechnics spelled out ‘TRUMP’ and ‘2020’ over the Washington mall.”
Kelly then responded to her song being played on Twitter in a since-deleted post.
The singer wrote, “Seeing messages about my version of ‘Hallelujah’. All I know is neither myself nor my team received a request.”
Cohen passed away at age 82 the day before the 2016 election.
Representatives from Leonard Cohen’s estate and Sony ATV Music Publishing both issued statements to ET Canada.
“We are surprised and dismayed that the RNC would proceed knowing that the Cohen Estate had specifically declined the RNC’s use request, and their rather brazen attempt to politicize and exploit in such an egregious manner ‘Hallelujah’, one of the most important songs in the Cohen song catalogue. We are exploring our legal options,” said Michelle L. Rice, legal representative of the late singer’s estate. “Had the RNC requested another song, ‘You Want it Darker’, for which Leonard won a posthumous Grammy in 2017, we might have considered approval of that song.”
“On the eve of the finale of the convention, representatives from the Republican National Committee contacted us regarding obtaining permission for a live performance of Leonard Cohen’s Hallelujah’. We declined their request,” stated Brian J. Monaco, president and global chief marketing officer of Sony/ATV Music Publishing.
Meanwhile, some social media users pointed out the track was a break-up song, while others insisted Cohen “stood against everything” Trump represents. See more of the reaction to his track being played at the RNC below.
WITH THE FIREWORKS FOR #realDonaldTrump, the idiot Republicans are playing the famous song, Hallelujah, by Leonard Cohen, who stood against everything Trump represents.
— Jeff Cohen (@jeffcot) August 28, 2020
Leonard Cohen, a Canadian , would never have allowed the use of his song Hallelujah at a political event…..ESPECIALLY a Republican one !
— View from the North (@seppl56) August 28, 2020
Politicians have always missed the point when it comes to using songs in their campaigns. From Bruce Springsteen's "Born in the USA" to Leonard Cohen's "Hallelujah", they simply hear a slogan – not the ironic, usually opposite intent of the song.
— David Hallangen illustrator etc (@HALLANGEN_art) August 28, 2020
Jesus Fucking Christ, RNC, leave Leonard Cohen out of it. The man's already dead, there's no need to spit on his grave. https://t.co/K4kmyYjiNI
— Amy, will knit for beer 🤨🙄🤬🧐😼 (@AmyMK) August 28, 2020
I can’t believe he had the gall to use a Leonard Cohen song. That’s some serios blasphemy. Trump isn’t fit to even speak about Leonard Cohen. @amandashires Are you OK? If I’m this upset, you must be through the roof. https://t.co/izxuexr4ak
— She Sounds Hideous (@megc1977) August 28, 2020
I'm sorry…whut??? LEONARD COHEN??? pic.twitter.com/fFORPwhPH0
— Lotta Poutine (@KayVeeBee3) August 28, 2020
I would like to think that any fan of Leonard Cohen would be extremely disappointed by a creature like Trump and his ilk using his music in any capacity, much less that ugly RNC pageant of hate.
— Warren Juice (@YYCWarren) August 28, 2020
Leonard Cohen stood against everything that the racist in chief is enabling.
Please America, vote that fucker out in November. #RNC2020
— Dann Alexander (@WriterDann) August 28, 2020
No no you motherfuckers. You leave Leonard Cohen out of this fascist garbage.
— Jonathan Myerson Katz (@KatzOnEarth) August 28, 2020
The most painful part of the night was the desecration of the memory of Leonard Cohen.
The audacity to use the art of a freedom fighter as background music to a shameful hate manifestation. https://t.co/GMJDSN4uPm
— Meyer Labin (@MeyerLabin) August 28, 2020