Trump Threatened With Lawsuit Over Village People Cover Band

(AP Photo/Alex Brandon, File)

So we were on vacation in Palm Beach two weeks ago. We thought it would be fun to drive by Mar-a-Lago and take a selfie next to the sign. This was impossible since there is no place to stop, and security is a very serious thing in those precincts, naturally. I toyed with the idea of trying to have our anniversary dinner there, knowing full well it would cost me an arm, leg, and a kidney. But Mar-a-Lago is strictly “members only” and the initiation fee alone is more than I can afford. In fact, I don’t think I even know anyone who could afford the initiation fee. On the other hand, if this is the nightly entertainment, maybe I’m not missing anything:


I ain’t payin’ 20 grand for that. No matter how good the wine list is.

That silly little video clip has created a new legal threat for Trump. Karen Willis, who is the manager of the actual Village People and the wife of the lead singer, Victor Willis, has sent a cease-and-desist order to Trump over the video. She called the show by what was quite obviously a Village People cover band an unauthorized performance. Ms. Willis claims that she has received inquiries from fans as to whether or not the real group was performing at Mar-a-Lago on May 11. In fact, she says that the group has been “inundated” with social media posts. She adds (via Aidan McLaughlin on Twitter):

Therefore, the performance has, and continues to cause public confusion as to why Village People would even engage in such a performance. We did not. Moreover, your client is hereby on NOTICE that U.S. Trademark law protects against the unauthorized use the Village People image and trade dress. To be certain, the use of the group’s image and likeness at Mar a Largo 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 cease-and-desist demand follows.

To be fair, as American Wire reports, the Village People have allowed Trump to use “YMCA” at his rallies. Back in 2020, Victor Willis said on Facebook, “Our music is all-inclusive and certainly everyone is entitled to do the Y.M.C.A dance, regardless of their political affiliation. Having said that, we certainly don’t endorse his use as we’d prefer our music be kept out of politics.”

Fair enough. Of course, Trump has also used Sam and Dave’s classic, “Hold On, I’m Comin,'” which gels with his campaign message. Doubtless, he uses “YMCA” because it is a fun song, everyone knows the words, and it gets people out of their seats and jumping up and down. And that sort of party atmosphere is the hallmark of a Trump rally.

Related: Photoshop Faceplant: Leftist Hit on Trump Fails

But let’s face it: no adult in his right mind believes the Village People endorse Trump. Or that they were on the stage at Mar-a-Lago. And it isn’t as if there was a sign over the entrance that read, “Tonight — One Night Only: The Village People!” This was a video taken by an attendee and shared on Twitter. And, if Karen is so worried about misrepresentation or even copyright infringement, why not go after the group making money off of the Village People’s image and music? All Mar-a-Lago did was hire them.


Well, for one reason, that group probably has no assets and in this economy, the members may be one paycheck away from living out of their cars. Trump on the other hand has deeper pockets. But more to the point, it is, after all, hip to hate Trump. It has been since at least 2015.  It makes for a great news story to sue Trump over a short video taken of a cover band and posted on Twitter, in order to preserve the legacy of the Village People.

Which tells you all you need to know about American culture. And with that in mind, I’m gonna need a drink. Somebody call Mar-a-Lago. I want to see the wine list.


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