Tom Petty Estate Demands Failed Candidate Kari Lake Back Down After Unauthorized Use of Song in Ad

One day after the estate of Isaac Hayes threatened legal action against twice-impeached one-term president Donald Trump for unauthorized use of a song, one of the former reality TV star’s most vocal supporters got a similar do not play request.


“The Tom Petty estate and our partners were shocked to find out that Tom’s song ‘I Won’t Back Down’ was stolen and used without permission or a license to promote Kari Lake’s failed campaign,” the estate of the late rock icon tweeted on Thursday night (Nov. 17) after Lake released a campaign video cued to the beloved 1989 single.

Lake, one of a raft of prominent Trump-endorsed election deniers who failed in their bids in the midterm elections, dropped the ad on Wednesday. The two-minute spot features a montage of Lake posing with Trump, wielding a rifle while hunting, smashing TVs playing CNN and speaking to Arizonans with no voice-over or sound beyond Petty’s track.

“This is illegal,” Petty’s camp continued. “We are exploring all of our legal options to stop this unauthorized use and to prohibit future misappropriations of Tom’s beloved anthem. Thank you to all of the fans who brought this to our attention and who help us protect his legacy every day.”

Former local Fox news anchor Lake lost her bid for the Arizona governorship to democrat Katie Hobbs, but in keeping with her election denialism stance has so far refused to concede the race while offering up baseless, unproven allegations of voter fraud. Petty’s estate had a similar reaction when then-president Trump used “Won’t Back Down” at a June 2020 campaign rally.

Over the five years of his campaigns and presidency, artists ranging from Adele to Bruce Springsteen, Elton John, R.E.M., Aerosmith, Panic! at the Disco, Guns N’ Roses, The Rolling Stones, Rihanna and the estates of Leonard Cohen, Petty and Prince vociferously objected to Trump playing their music at his rallies. At press time a spokesperson for Lake could not be reached for comment on the Petty estate’s tweet.

Hayes’ estate said it was exploring all legal options after Trump played Sam & Dave’s “Hold On I’m Coming” — co-written by Hayes — at his Tuesday campaign event, in which the legally embattled real estate developer announced his third bid for the White House.

See the Petty estate’s statement below.

Gil Kaufman