Family of the late singer Tom Petty issued a response to Donald Trump’s campaign rally just hours after it got underway, calling out the president for the use of Petty’s song I Won’t Back Down.
The singer, who died in 2017, reportedly wrote the song for “the underdog,” and the family don’t consider the president’s campaign to fit the bill.
“Trump was in no way authorized to use this song to further a campaign that leaves too many Americans and common sense behind,” the family said in a statement released on Petty’s Twitter account Saturday evening.
The family made it clear that they don’t support what the president stands for and accused him of holding views on race that the late singer wouldn’t agree with.
“Both the late Tom Petty and his family firmly stand against racism and discrimination of any kind,” the post said.
“Tom Petty would never want a song of his used for a campaign of hate. He liked to bring people together.”
According to a report in Deadline, the family issued a cease and desist letter to the Trump campaign in 2017 over the use of the song, which was the same year Petty died.
Tom Petty’s former bandmate, Benmont Tench, also weighed in on the controversial issue, saying that he wholeheartedly agreed with what the Petty family had to say about the use of I Won’t Back Down.
A spokesperson didn’t immediately respond to Deadline‘s request for comment. However, the Petty family isn’t the first musical entity to take exception to Trump’s use of their work.
The publication reported that the Trump campaign has received backlash from several other artists due to their use of music at rallies, notably Neil Young who called out the campaign for using his song, Rockin in the Free World in 2015. In that case, the campaign responded that they did receive a license to use the song at their events.
Trump has come under fire for holding the rally at all in the wake of the worldwide coronavirus pandemic which has yet to be stifled in the United States. The president, however, continued with his Oklahoma rally, praising his supporters for their attendance at the event.
Trump reportedly called his fans “warriors” as he spoke about his efforts to win the White House for a second term. Trump is defending his spot in the Oval Office against Democratic nominee and former Vice President Joe Biden.