Four of Tom Petty’s family members came together Saturday night to quickly release a statement blasting the president for using the rocker’s “I Won’t Back Down” at his Tulsa campaign rally, saying Petty “would never want a song of his used for a campaign of hate. He liked to bring people together.”
The statement said that Donald Trump “was in no way authorized to use this song to further a campaign that leaves too many Americans and common sense behind. Both the late Tom Petty and his family firmly stand against racism and discrimination of any kind.”
The declaration was signed by Adria and Annakim Petty, his two daughters, as well as both Dana Petty, his wife at the time of his death in 2017, and Jane Petty, his former wife. They end the note by saying they will be filing a cease-and-desist order against the campaign.
“I Won’t Back Down,” one of the most enduring songs in Petty’s catalog, was played prior to the president’s appearance at the already legendarily under-attended rally at the BOK Centre in Oklahoma.
“Tom wrote this song for the underdog, for the common man and for everyone,” Petty’s survivors wrote in their joint statement. “We want to make it clear that we believe everyone is free to vote as they like, think as they like, but the Petty family doesn’t stand for this. We believe in America and we believe in democracy. But Donald Trump is not representing the noble ideals of either. We would hate for fans that are marginalized by this administration to think we were complicit in this usage. Concurrently, we have issued a cease and desist notice to the Trump campaign.”
The end of Trump’s lengthy and typically polarizing speech was met by the opening strains of the Rolling Stones’ “You Can’t Always Get What You Want,” as always. The British group has repeatedly asked the Trump campaign to stop using the song, to no avail.
Others who have objected to their music being used by Trump at rallies include Pharrell Williams, R.E.M., Aerosmith, Neil Young, Adele and the Village People.