Donald Trump receives ‘cease and desist’ letter from Village People over use of band's music in campaign rallies

16 May 2023, 11:31 | Updated: 16 May 2023, 11:41

The band started to receive complaints of endorsing Trump after the video was shared.
The band started to receive complaints of endorsing Trump after the video was shared. Picture: Twitter/Getty

By Jenny Medlicott

Donald Trump has been ordered to 'cease and desist' using music by Village People after a video of the ex-president dancing to one of their songs has opened it up to criticism from fans.

A video showing ex-president, Donald Trump, dancing to the song ‘Macho Man’ by a Village People tribute band has led to the original band being criticised, as fans have confused the tribute with the original group.

Mr Trump has repeatedly used songs by the group in previous campaign rallies, but ‘Macho Man’ is one that has made a frequent reappearance.

The video circulating online shows a tribute group performing at the 76-year-old's Mar-a-Lago home, but the band's likeness to the original group has convinced fans Village People endorse the former president.

Now the band’s manager has presented Mr Trump, who wants to run for the 2024 presidential election, with a cease and desist letter following the video footage.

Karen Willis, the band's manager and also wife of lead singer Victor Willis, said the tribute band was not the original group and that their performance of the band's songs was “unauthorised”.

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Video footage shows the ex-president dancing to a song by Village People.
Video footage shows the ex-president dancing to a song by Village People. Picture: Twitter
The video has led to the group being criticised, due to the likeness of the tribute band.
The video has led to the group being criticised, due to the likeness of the tribute band. Picture: Twitter

She ordered Mr Trump to stop misleading the public with tribute bands and causing confusion within the group's fanbase.

In a letter to Mr Trump’s lawyers, originally obtained by TMZ, she said: “We have been inundated with social media posts about the imitation performance where many fans, and the general public as well, mistakenly believe to be that of the actual Village People.

“Therefore the performance has, and continues to cause public confusion as to why Village People would engage in such a performance. We did not."

“Though my husband has publicly tolerated your client's use of his Village People music, we cannot allow such use by him to cause public confusion as to an endorsement.

"Therefore it is requested that he cease and desist any such further unauthorised use of the Village People image in association with the songs and his campaign.”

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A tribute band performed in the former presidents at his Mar-a-Lago home.
A tribute band performed in the former presidents at his Mar-a-Lago home. Picture: Getty

She also said if the ex-president did not cease, the group would pursue further action to stop him using their music.

“And we’d hate to do that,” she added.

Back in February 2020, the band’s lead singer said he would allow Mr Trump to use their songs, but emphasised that did not mean endorsement.

He wrote in a Facebook post: "Our music is all-inclusive and certainly everyone is entitled to do the Y.M.C.A dance, regardless of their political affiliation.

"Having said that, we certainly don't endorse his use as we'd prefer our music be kept out of politics."

Donald Trump has received a cease and desist letter from the band's manager.
Donald Trump has received a cease and desist letter from the band's manager. Picture: Getty

But in June 2020, Mr Willis went back on his statement, as he asked Mr Trump to stop using his music after it was claimed the ex-president wanted to use the US military to stomp out Black Lives Matter protests.

Mr Trump and representatives for Village People have not yet commented on the reports.

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