Village People Manager Says Trump Has Gone Too Far

Cease-and-desist letter calls for a end to Mar-a-Lago performances
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted May 16, 2023 4:45 PM CDT
Trump Gets Cease-and-Desist Letter From Village People
Former President Donald Trump dances after speaking at a campaign rally in Dalton, Ga., Monday, Jan. 4, 2021.   (AP Photo/Brynn Anderson)

Donald Trump's enthusiasm for the music of the Village People has gone too far, the disco group's manager said in a cease-and-desist letter to the former president's lawyers. Karen Willis, wife of lead singer Victor Willis, said a costumed tribute band at Trump's Mar-a-Lago estate has been performing "Macho Man" and other Village People hits, potentially violating trademark law, Billboard reports. She said video of a Mar-a-Lago performance led fans, and the general public, to think the real band had performed there. "The performance has and continues to cause public confusion as to why Village People would even engage in such a performance. We did not," Willis wrote.

"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," Willis wrote. She said trademark law "protects against the unauthorized use of the Village People image and trade dress." Trump regularly plays—and dances to—Village People songs at Mar-a-Lago events and at his political rallies around the country. In the letter, Willis wrote that if Trump didn't halt the unauthorized use of the band's image, they would sue to prevent further use not only of "trademarked images and trade dress, but of the music as well (and we’d hate to have to do that) but such combined use causes public confusion and is suggestive of endorsement," per Rolling Stone.

Trump lawyer Joseph Tacopina said he would "only deal with the attorney of the Village People, if they have one, not the wife of one of the members." He added: "But they should be thankful that President Trump allowed them to get their name back in the press. I haven’t heard their name in decades. Glad to hear they are still around.”

(More Donald Trump stories.)

Get the news faster.
Tap to install our app.
Install the Newser News app
in two easy steps:
1. Tap in your navigation bar.
2. Tap to Add to Home Screen.