Pharrell Williams not ‘Happy,’ threatens to sue Trump for using song after mass killing
Written by Alex Alabi on October 30, 2018
The 45 year old singer sent a cease-and-desist letter to Trump after the president played Williams’ 2014 smash hit “Happy” at a political event in the Midwest Saturday, just hours after nearly a dozen people were gunned down in a Pittsburgh synagogue.
“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,” Williams’ lawyer, Howard King, wrote in the letter obtained by USA TODAY.
Williams’ legal team noted that the use of the song was not only poorly timed, but in violation of “copyright infringement” and “trademark rights.”
“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,” the letter read.
The letter made it clear that Williams “will not” allow Trump to use any of his musical catalog in the future: “Demand is hereby made that you cease and desist from any further unauthorized use of Pharrell Williams’ music.”
This is not the first, or second, time Trump has caught flak for the song choices at his political events.
In August, Aerosmith frontman Steven Tyler sent Trump a cease-and-desist letter after the commander in chief played the band’s hit song “Livin’ on the Edge” at a rally in Charleston, West Virginia.
“Mr. Trump is creating the false impression that our client has given his consent for the use of his music, and even that he endorses the presidency of Mr. Trump,” Tyler’s legal team said in a letter obtained by USA TODAY.
R.E.M., Prince’s estate and Queen are among the other artists who have objected to the president’s use of their music.