Tom Petty's estate tells Ariz. Republican election denier Kari Lake to back down on song use

As of Oct. 2, 2017, Tom Petty was hospitalized. The media at large falsely reported that he had died.
As of Oct. 2, 2017, Tom Petty was hospitalized. The media at large falsely reported that he had died.

Tom Petty, in his famous rock anthem, vowed never to back down. Now, his heirs are telling Kari Lake to back off from using the song to promote her "failed campaign" for Arizona governor.

Petty's estate is threatening legal action against Lake for illegally using the song, "I Won't Back Down," Wednesday in a YouTube video. The video has since been deleted.

"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," his heirs and partners said in a Twitter post Thursday.

"This is illegal," they said in the post. "We are exploring all of our legal options to stop this unauthorized use and to prohibit future misappropriations of Tom’s beloved anthem. @KariLake."

Lake, her campaign and her lawyer did not respond Friday to interview requests.

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Petty fans had plenty to say, with thousands responding on Twitter.

"There's no way in hell Tom Petty would approve of YOU using his music. RIP @tompetty," one person Called Justice Matters said.

"That is appalling!" Laddie Watson tweeted. "An example of the lack of integrity in a campaign for governor. Thank you for letting us know about this. I love that song and adore Tom Petty. Go get 'em! Grrrr..."

The video pictured a montage of Lake on the campaign trail as the song played in the background for about two minutes. It served to underscore Lake's refusal to accept election results and appeared to tee up her claims that the Nov. 8 election was rigged against her.

Lake, who lost to Democratic challenger Katie Hobbs, has trailed throughout the ballot counting for the Nov. 8 election. On Friday, she was behind by about 16,850 votes, according to the Arizona Secretary of State's Office.

This isn't Lake's first run-in with a musician. In August, Twisted Sister frontman Dee Snider blasted Lake for using the song "We're Not Gonna Take It" at campaign rallies. He said the song was used without permission and wasn't intended for "fascist morons."

Lake, who was endorsed by former President Donald Trump, built her campaign around claims of election fraud. She has repeatedly said without evidence that the 2020 presidential election was rigged in favor of Joe Biden and said one of her first duties as governor would be to put the election system under a microscope.

After the Petty video was removed from Twitter, Lake dropped a new two-minute video, telling supporters she was still in the fight. The new video had more than 1.1 million page views as of Friday afternoon.

"For two years, I have been sounding the alarm about our broken elections system here in Arizona, and this past week has confirmed everything we have been saying," Lake said in the video. "The fox was guarding the henhouse, and because of that voters have been disenfranchised."

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Lake touted her failed lawsuit to get rid of voting machines in the state and said "nearly half of all polling locations had problems with voting machines and printers." Malfunctioning tabulation machines forced voters to wait in line for hours, she said.

Problems with voting machines were reported at about 30% of polling locations in Maricopa County, the state's most populous county. It accounts for roughly two-thirds of the Arizona electorate. No widespread problems were reported in the rest of the state.

County election officials said a printer error prevented machines from reading markers on ballots. On Election Day, they encouraged people to use different voting locations or place ballots into a so-called "door 3" secure collection box. The votes were counted separately.

A Maricopa County Superior Court judge, during an emergency hearing on election night, found no evidence any voter was prevented from casting a ballot.

Lake, who reportedly visited Mar-a-Lago on Thursday to meet with Trump, has said she is assembling the best legal team possible to challenge the election.

One of those on the team helping Lake is Floyd Brown, a conservative operative who was behind the notorious 1988 "Willie Horton" advertisements that helped torpedo Michael Dukakis' presidential bid. The ads, widely condemned as racist, connected Dukakis to a felon who committed violent crimes while furloughed from prison.

"Spent hours last night working with Lake team on a continuing war for Arizona," Brown said in a Nov. 15 tweet. "She will not go quietly into the night. She intends to stand and fight. She knew when she entered this race that it would be tough. Her opponents lack her courage. She is fighting for us. @KariLake."

Reach Robert Anglen at or follow him on Twitter @robertanglen.

This article originally appeared on Arizona Republic: Tom Petty estate tells Kari Lake to stop use of 'I Won't Back Down'