Tom Petty's family is not happy with Donald Trump right now, taking the POTUS to task for using one of the late rock icon's songs at his Saturday rally. Trump held a campaign event at the BOK Center in Tulsa, Oklahoma, and, at some point, organizers played Petty's 1989 solo track "I Won't Back Down" for those in attendance. However, the Trump campaign did not get his estate's blessing before doing so.
Petty's daughters Adria and Annakim, his widow Dana and his ex-wife Jane joined together to blast the use of the song shortly after the rally. The group issued a statement on Twitter, saying, "Trump was in no way authorized to use this song to further a campaign that leaves too many Americans and common sense left behind." They went on to add that Petty stood "against racism and discrimination of any kind" and "would not want a song of his used for a campaign of hate." The family went on to note how Petty's music is supposed to "bring people together" instead of divide.
"Tom wrote this song for the underdog, for the common man and for EVERYONE," the family's statement read. "We want to make it clear that we believe everyone is free to vote as they like, think as they like, but the Petty family doesn't stand for this. We believe in America, we believe in democracy. But Donald Trump isn't representing the noble ideals of either. We would hate for fans that are marginalized by this administration to think we were complicit in this usage.
They concluded their statement by letting the public know they are issuing a cease and desist notice to the Trump campaign. This usage is not the first time Trump has faced heat from musicians after co-opting their music. Artists including Prince, The Rolling Stones Elton John, Adele, Aerosmith, Neil Young, Rihanna, R.E.M. and Twisted Sister. Trump has not responded to the controversy as of press time.
As for the rally itself, several controversies sparked due to several things Trump told his following. Notably, he dismissed the coronavirus — which has killed 119,000 Americans and 345,000 in other countries — as the "Kung flu." There was also much discussion about the size of Trump's crowd. He claimed 1 million people registered to attend the event, but less than 6,200 people ended up at the arena.