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 must always approve how the song is used. That said, Snider has clarified that while he does not support Arizona gubernatorial candidate Kari Lake, he has stated that he will not “legally or morally” challenge her use of the song at a recent political rally.
Footage of Lake walking into a crowd of supporters to the familiar rendition of Twisted Sister’s “We’re Not Gonna Take It” began making the rounds on social media, with one fan reaching out to Snider, who shared the video and suggested a “cease and desist order” against Lake for the use.
On Twitter, Snider responded: “While I detest what this ignorant @KariLake stands for and the deplorables (yup, Hillary Clinton was 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 asked if Snider was actually okay with the usage, the singer commented: “Not at all. I am NOT with @KariLake. I am not with anyone who is pro-Trump or not Pro-choice. This said , I wrote a song designed for everyone. I can’t choose who can and can’t sing it… THIS SAID… 1st line is “WE HAVE THE RIGHT TO CHOOSE.” Happy Kari agrees.”
And if there was any doubt where Snider’s loyalties actually fell within Arizona’s gubernatorial race, the singer later tweeted in all caps, “THIS IS THE MAN YOU’RE GOING TO ELECT,” pointing to a tweet from Arizona gubernatorial candidate Marco Lopez. The candidate then responded to Snider saying, “Thank you! I appreciate your help and support!” along with a flexed biceps emoji. The election date in the state of Arizona is November. 8, where the primary election takes place on Aug. 2.
It should be noted that many political campaigns are often able to obtain general licenses from ASCAP or BMI when it comes to holding rallies at larger public venues. As such, we’ve seen artists sometimes vocally condemn uses they don’t support afterwards, even if the song has already been used.
Snider has been vocal over the years about the use of “We’re Not Gonna Take It.” Most famously, Donald Trump began using the song for his presidential campaign, a move that eventually drew a response from Snider, who had previously worked with Trump on NBC’s Celebrity Apprentice.
While many acts vocally came out against Trump’s use of their music, Snider reached out privately and asked for the song to be pulled 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 being played and didn’t become the Trump campaign anthem.”
Snider’s displeasure with the Trump presidency came more to the fore later, stating in a 2020 interview that Trump should be removed from the presidency “at all costs”.
Twisted Sister was also able to take Australian politician Clive Palmer to court after the politician reworked some of the lyrics to fit his 2019 ad. It resulted in a legal victory for Universal Music, where Palmer was ordered to pay A$1.5 million (or just over $1.1 million) in damages for the illegal use.
The singer has stated in 2019 that he felt “very strongly” in support pro-choice political candidates using the song and earlier this year he showed his support for Ukrainians who wanted to use “We’re Not Gonna Take It” as their battle cry in their war with Russia.