Republican presidential hopeful Mike Huckabee is facing a lawsuit stemming from a September rally where the former Arkansas governor used Survivor’s “Eye of the Tiger” without permission. Survivor’s Frankie Sullivan, who co-wrote the 1982 single, is suing Huckabee for unspecified damages after the candidate used the Rocky III theme at the high-profile rally for Kim Davis, the Kentucky county clerk who was jailed for refusing to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples, The Associated Press reports.
Sullivan, through his company Rude Music, filed the lawsuit at a Chicago federal court Wednesday, three months after Huckabee played the song to celebrate Davis’ release from prison, according to the Associated Press. In the suit, Sullivan claims that, as co-writer of the track, he holds the copyright on “Eye of the Tiger,” and Huckabee did not seek permission to use the song at the rally. The lawsuit also demanded that Huckabee refrain from using the single at future rallies.
Speaking to Rolling Stone days after Huckabee used “Eye of the Tiger,” Sullivan admitted he was upset by the situation, especially since he’s been down this road with politicians before. In 2012, Sullivan sued Newt Gingrich after the then-Republican presidential candidate played “Eye of the Tiger” at his rallies. “I do not like mixing rock and roll with politics; they do not go hand in hand,” Sullivan said. “What upset me most [about Huckabee’s use] was that, once again, my song was being used to further a political agenda – and no one even bothered to ask for permission.”
At the time, Sullivan said he was undecided about whether he wanted to pursue further legal action against Huckabee. However, the guitarist did admit that, unlike Davis, he supports gay marriage. “I do not agree with Kim Davis’ stance and do not believe in denying gay rights and the freedom for all individuals to choose the lifestyle they want to live,” Sullivan says. “Our Constitution, and the words of our Founding Fathers, stand tall for freedom, which is what America is all about. I find it ridiculous in this day and age that this fight against gay marriage has gone on, even after the Supreme Court’s ruling. Let’s stop!”