Why Dee Snider Won’t Stop Far Right Politician From Using ‘We’re Not Gonna Take It’
Let's face it, "We're Not Gonna Take It" is a sentiment that connects with a lot of people, but that doesn't mean that Twisted Sister's Dee Snider always has to approve of how the song is used. That said, Snider has clarified that while he doesn't support Arizona gubernatorial candidate Kari Lake, he has stated that he won't "legally or morally" challenge her usage of the song at a recent political rally.
Footage of Lake entering to an audience of supporters to the familiar backing of Twisted Sister's "We're Not Gonna Take It" started making the rounds on social media, with one fan reaching out to Snider sharing the video and suggesting a "cease and desist order" against Lake for the usage.
On Twitter, Snider responded, "While I abhor what this ignoramus @KariLake stands for and the she deplorables (yup, Hillary Clinton had it right) she represents, I can NOT legally or morally stop her from using or singing my song. I wrote it for everyone...cherry picking who uses it is censorship."
When another Twitter follower questioned if Snider was actually okay with the usage, the singer commented, "Not at all. I do NOT stand with @KariLake. I'm not with anyone who is with Trump or not Pro-choice. This said, i wrote a song designed for everyone. I can't cherry pick who can & can not sing it... THIS SAID...the 1st line is 'WE'VE GOT THE RIGHT TO CHOOSE.' Glad Kari agrees."
And if there was any question of where Snider's loyalties actually fell within Arizona's governor race, the singer later tweeted in capital letters, "THIS IS THE MAN YOU MUST ELECT," pointing toward a tweet from Arizona gubernatorial candidate Marco Lopez. The candidate then responded to Snider, stating, "Thank you! I appreciate your help and support!" along with a flexed bicep emoji. Election date in the state of Arizona is Nov. 8, with the primary taking place on Aug. 2.
It should be noted that many political campaigns are often able to procure blanket licenses from ASCAP or BMI when it comes to staging rallies in major public venues. As such, we've seen artists sometimes vocally denounce usage they don't support after the fact even though the song has already been used.
Snider has been vocal over the years about the usage of "We're Not Gonna Take It." Most famously, Donald Trump started using the song for his presidential campaign, a move that eventually earned a response from Snider, who had previously worked with Trump on NBC's Celebrity Apprentice.
While many acts vocally came out against Trump's usage of their music, Snider reached out privately and asked that the song be withdrawn from the Trump playlist. Guitarist Jay jay French revealed in 2017, "It didn’t need the press. It didn’t need public shaming. But our song stopped getting played and didn’t become the anthem of the Trump campaign."
Snider's disenchantment with the Trump presidency came more to the forefront later, stating in a 2020 interview that Trump needed to be removed from the presidency "at all costs."
Twisted Sister were also able to take Australian politician Clive Palmer to court after the politician reworked some of the song lyrics to fit his 2019 ad. That resulted in a legal victory for Universal Music, with Palmer being ordered to pay $1.5 million Australian (or a little over $1.1 million U.S.) in damages for the illegal usage.
The singer has vocalized in 2019 that he felt "very strongly" in supporting pro-choice political candidates using the the song and earlier this year he showed his support for Ukrainians who wanted to use "We're Not Gonna Take It" as their battlecry in their war with Russia.