Queen doesn’t want its music associated in any way with Donald Trump.
Freddie Mercury’s former bandmates reportedly sent Trump a cease-and-desist letter after “We Will Rock You” was featured in its entirely in a campaign video the president tweeted last Wednesday. While the video is no longer available, the clip featured a montage of footage from his rallies set to the tune of Queen’s 1977 arena rock anthem, which has become a fixture at sports games in the decades since its release.
According to BuzzFeed, the video tallied more than 1.7 million views before it was disabled over copyright claims.
In a statement, a representative for Queen claims its dispute with Trump is ongoing,” as the band “already entered into a process to call for non use of Queen song copyrights by the Trump campaign.”
Queen’s repeated requests that Trump cease all use of its music in his campaign ads and at his rallies dates back at least to July 2016, when “We Are the Champions” played as Trump was anointed the official GOP nominee at the Republican National Convention. The band called it an “unauthorized use” of its music and said it would “never give [him] permission” to play its songs.
Adam Lambert, who currently serves as the band’s frontman, said at the time that Trump and the Republican Party represent everything that Mercury — a queer immigrant who died from complications related to HIV — fought against his whole life.
“If your political party spends decades treating gay people as second-class citizens, guess what: You don’t get to use Freddie Mercury’s music at your convention,” he tweeted.
However, a representative for Queen clarified in a statement that its opposition to Trump’s use of its music was not merely about his anti-LGBTQ+, anti-immigrant ideology but because it doesn’t want its “music associated with any mainstream or political debate in any country.”
Queen isn’t the only beloved music act which has sought to prevent Trump from co-opting its songs to further his agenda. Others include Adele, Elton John, The Rolling Stones, and Prince’s estate.
Trump has repeatedly ignored these requests.