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‘Mickey’ Singer Toni Basil Sues Disney, Viacom Over Song Use

One-hit wonder accuses ‘South Park,’ ‘RuPaul’s Drag Race’ and a Forever 21 commercial of using 1982 hit without permission


"Mickey" singer Toni Basil has sued Disney and Viacom over the unauthorized use of her 1982 hit in shows like 'South Park' and 'RuPaul's Drag Race.'

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“Mickey” singer Toni Basil has sued Disney and Viacom over the unauthorized use of her 1982 hit in shows like South Park and RuPaul’s Drag Race.

In the lawsuit, filed Thursday at Los Angeles County Superior Court, Basil also lists retailer Forever 21 and publishing company Razor & Tie as companies that have violated the song’s copyright, which has left the singer “despondent and physically ill.” The singer has also “experienced sleep deprivation, nightmares and anxiety,” the lawsuit notes (via BBC News).

The lawsuit accuses the companies of charges ranging from violations of California business and professions code and the Lanham Act to “federal racketeering mail fraud and wire fraud.”

In the case of South Park, Basil cites a November 2008 episode where – following Barack Obama’s presidential win – the lyrics of “Mickey” were changed to “Hey Obama, you’re so fine, you’re so fine you blow my mind, hey Obama, hey Obama.”

“Mickey” was also used during advertisements of a Disney-themed Forever 21 line and in an episode of RuPaul’s Drag Race, “when they had drag queens lip sync to her sound recording of ‘Spanish Mickey,'” a Spanish language version of the track.

“Basil’s brand and identity is intertwined with her song ‘Mickey.’ Basil is protective of her brand, and her signature song is known as a cheerleading anthem and an 80s one-hit wonder,” the lawsuit says. “A reasonable consumer would be lead [sic] to believe Basil had approved and/or endorsed.”

In each case, “Mickey” was properly licensed through the publishing arm of Razor & Tie. However, the lawsuit contends the publishing company didn’t have the right to license “Mickey” and details the long and complicated history of the song’s ownership. Basil was never consulted over the song’s use.

Basil is seeking $25,000 in damages (plus $750 per song use) as well as the return of the “Mickey” rights. Reps for Basil, Disney and Forever 21 did not immediately reply to requests for comment. A rep for Viacom declined to comment on the case.


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