by 👨💻 Simon Baxendale
US President Donald Trump has, let’s face it, divided opinion. That much is obvious – the commander-in-chief has continued to court support from a fairly steadfast audience of US voters, though voices against choices he has made while in office remain as loud as ever. One way in which Trump has earned the ire of some of the entertainment world’s biggest stars is through his rallies – as his team will have opted to choose a number of hit songs to play alongside the President appealing to crowds across the US. Trump’s recent controversial appearance at a political event in Indiana went down particularly badly with many following the Pittsburgh synagogue shooting that occurred the same day – not least Pharrell Williams, whose lawyer publicly condemned the President for using one of the singer’s biggest hits.
Williams, whose long and varied career is perhaps led by the international megahit ‘Happy’, found his song used as part of Trump’s latest rally on a day where eleven people were murdered in Pittsburgh. The star’s lawyer, Howard King, openly ordered Trump to cease and desist. “Pharrell has not, and will not, grant you permission to publicly perform or otherwise broadcast or disseminate any of his music,” King advised in professional capacity via letter.
“On the day of the mass murder of 11 human beings at the hands of a deranged ‘nationalist’, you played his song Happy to a crowd at a political event in Indiana. (…) There was nothing ‘happy’ about the tragedy inflicted upon our country on Saturday and no permission was granted for your use of this song for this purpose.”
Trump acknowledged the tragedy by advising that ‘we just don’t seem to learn from the past,’ branding the act ‘anti-Semitic’. However, many have felt that the tone of the rally was hardly fitting given the incident that had occurred earlier that day.
▶ Pharrell Sends Trump Cease and Desist Letter Following Insensitive Use of 'Happy' (The Hollywood Reporter)
This is not the first time that Trump, and Trump’s team, have been on the receiving end of a cease and desist order from a pop star or two. Aerosmith’s Steven Tyler recently requested that Trump cease playing his band’s music at rallies, while Queen, the Rolling Stones and REM’s Michael Stipe – the latter of whom referred to Trump’s 2015 campaign as ‘moronic’ – have all demanded their work be kept away from the President’s public displays in future? Will Pharrell be the last? Perhaps not.