"Though my husband has tolerated your client’s use of his Village People music, we cannot allow such use by him to cause public confusion as to endorsement.”
The Village People have demanded that former US President Donald Trump stop using their music, sending a cease-and-desist letter after Trump hosted a lookalike band at his Mar-a-Lago estate.
The Village People’s manager, Karen Willis (wife of the band’s Victor Willis) sent the letter after a recent video surfaced of Trump dancing to the Village People hit, Macho Man, while the lookalike band danced behind him.
Willis’ letter states that the Lanham Act, a division of copyright law in the US “protects against the unauthorized [sic] use of the Village People image and trade dress.
“To be certain, the use of the group’s image and likeness at Mar-a-Lago was unauthorized [sic]. Though my husband has tolerated your client’s use of his Village People music, we cannot allow such use by him to cause public confusion as to endorsement.”
The Village People lead singer sent Trump a cease and desist over a performance of "Macho Man" at Mar-a-Lago: pic.twitter.com/meHYWMOjgf— Aidan McLaughlin (@aidnmclaughlin) May 15, 2023
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The letter was sent to Donald Trump’s lawyer, Joe Tacopina. Willis requests that Trump “cease and desist any such further unauthorized [sic] use of the Village People image in association with the songs and his campaign (or in his personal capacity).
“Otherwise, we shall be forced to bring suit preventing further use, not only of the Village People trademarked images and trade dress, but of the music as well (and we’d hate to have to do that) but such combined use causes public confusion and is suggestive of endorsement.”
Tacopina made his response to the letter via TMZ, where he said he would “only deal with the attorney of the Village People, if they have one, not the wife of one of the members.”
Tacopina continued, “But they should be thankful that President Trump allowed them to get their name back in the press. I haven’t heard their name in decades. Glad to hear they are still around.”
The Village People also demanded that Trump stop playing YMCA in June 2020. As Rolling Stone reports, Victor Willis wrote on Facebook, “I ask that you no longer use any of my music at your rallies especially YMCA and Macho Man. Sorry, but I can no longer look the other way.”