This has to be the weirdest sentence you’ll read today: The Village People are currently feuding with former President of the United States Donald Trump.
Victor Wills, the lead singer of The Village People, is reiterating his request to Trump, imploring him to stop using the band’s music. Only this time, things have gone a bit further, and he and the group seem ready to escalate things further if they must.
On Monday (May 15), Karen Willis forwarded a cease-and-desist letter to Joe Tacopina, Trump’s lawyer, urging him to take immediate action. Penned by Willis, the manager of Village People and Victor Willis’ wife, she explicitly addresses a recent video captured at Mar-a-Lago, showcasing Trump enthusiastically dancing to the tune of “Macho Man” by The Village People, with a group of individuals dressed just like The Village People joining in the choreography.
You have to love Trump’s dance moves! 🕺👇 pic.twitter.com/RWF3C9mjzw
— Lyndy (@MJisMAGA) May 12, 2023
Willis described the performance she saw as “unauthorized” and her worry that the video could lead to a widespread misconception among fans and the general public that the actual Village People were there, performing, which could easily be seen as an endorsement of the former leader and his current campaign.
She also asserted that this performance amounted to a violation of a copyright law safeguarding trademark owners from “the use of comparable marks that could potentially confuse consumers.” In the letter, she stated that the specific law she highlights, “protects against the unauthorized 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. 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
Trump has been using beloved Village People classics like “Y.M.C.A.” and “Macho Man” at his campaign rallies and parties for years now. Despite initially seeming accepting of this practice, at least by some members of the Village People, this letter indicates a change of heart. Social media posts several years ago indicated some of the musicians’ delight when their singles resurfaced on the Billboard charts after prominent events, but that no longer seems to be the focus.
The letter further mentions that unless the ex-president and present candidate refrains from utilizing the music and likeness of the Village People, they will take legal action in the form of a lawsuit – something he is very familiar with at this point.
In response to the letter, Tacopina, Trump’s attorney, reportedly stated to TMZ, “I will exclusively communicate with the Village People’s attorney, provided they have one, rather than the spouse of any band member. 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.”
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