Wife of Village People singer threatens lawsuit after Trump’s Mar-a-Lago moves go viral

The wife of Victor Willis, the lead singer of the 70s disco group Village People, sent Donald Trump a cease and desist letter threatening legal action over a recent performance of their hit song “Macho Man,” claiming that a cover band’s rendition of the song at Mar-a-Lago caused “public confusion.”

Video made the rounds last week of the cover band, decked out in the ever-familiar gear worn by Village People, performing at Trump’s resort in West Palm Beach as he danced and pumped his fist along with the music:

“Since that time, we have been inundated with social media posts about the imitation performance where many fans, and the general public as well, mistakenly believe to be that of the actual Village People in violation of the Lanham Act,” the letter reads. “Therefore, the performance has, and continues to cause, public confusion as to why Village People would engage in such a performance. We did not.”

“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 an endorsement,” the letter added. “Therefore it is requested that he cease and desist any such further unauthorized use of the Village People image in association with the songs and his campaign (or in his personal capacity).”

Willis’ wife said they would be “forced to bring suit preventing further use, not only of the Village People trademarked image and trade dress, but of the music as well — and we’d hate to have to do that.”

In effect, Trump is cleared to continue playing their music but not showcasing the groups trademarked image.

In Feb. 2020, Willis took to Facebook to make it clear that the group doesn’t endorse Trump but suggested that he’d would allow the use of the band’s songs.

“Our music is all-inclusive and certainly everyone is entitled to do the Y.M.C.A dance, regardless of their political affiliation.” Willis said. “Having said that, we certainly don’t endorse his use as we’d prefer our music be kept out of politics.”

Here’s a quick sampling of responses to the story, as seen on Twitter:

Tom Tillison


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