Tom Petty’s family demands Trump stop using rockstar’s music for ‘campaign of hate’

Family issues cease and desist letter, according to tweet

Michele Bachmann/George W. Bush vs. Tom Petty --Then-Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minnesota), got in hot water in 2011 for using Tom Petty's song "American Girl" to help her announce her presidential campaign.
Michele Bachmann/George W. Bush vs. Tom Petty --Then-Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minnesota), got in hot water in 2011 for using Tom Petty's song "American Girl" to help her announce her presidential campaign. (Theo Wargo/Getty Images)

ORLANDO, Fla. – The family of late Tom Petty says they have issued a cease and desist letter demanding the president no longer use “I Won’t Back Down” at campaign stops and rallies.

The Petty family made the announcement on Twitter after President Donald Trump played the song in Tulsa, Oklahoma during a campaign stop. The rally marked the resurgence of Trump’s re-election campaign, welcoming 19,000 people into a stadium during the coronavirus pandemic. He reminded people in the crowd of his intent to stay in the Oval Office for the next four years while playing Petty’s famous song.

The Petty family is now asking the Trump campaign to back down, and never use the rockstar’s music again.

“Trump was in no way authorized to use this song to further a campaign that leaves too many Americans and common sense behind,” the statement signed by Petty’s daughters and widows read. “Both the late Tom Petty and his family firmly stand against racism and discrimination of any kind. Tom Petty would never want a song of his used for a campaign of hate. He liked to bring people together.”

Petty, who grew up in Gainesville, died of an accidental overdose in October 2017 at the age of 66. The frontman of Tom Petty and The Heartbreakers often said in interviews “I Won’t Back Down” was a song meant to inspire his fans.

“Tom wrote this song for the underdog, for the common man, for EVERYONE,” the family’s statement reads.

Benmont Tench III, a founding member of the band, echoed the family’s sentiment in a statement posted to Instagram.

“I in no way approve of Trump even whistling any piece of music associated with our band. I hope that’s clear enough,” he wrote.

Petty’s family said in their statement that everyone is free to vote as they like and are entitled to their beliefs, noting its the use of the song and the platform it was used for that they disagree with.

“We believe in American and we believe in democracy. But Donald Trump is not representing the noble ideas of either. We would hate for fans that are marginalized by this administration to think we were complicit in this usage.”