The band takes issue with Farage for naming his podcast ‘Farage Against the Machine.’
Though they've been on an unofficial hiatus since 2011, Rage Against the Machine are not staying silent. The politically strident band's lawyer, Howard King, fired off a strongly worded cease and desist letter on Tuesday (July 10) to right-wing British parliamentarian and broadcaster Nigel Farage over his use of a variation on their name for his “Farage Against the Machine” podcast.
The podcast was launched in March and King's letter asks Farage to immediately stop using the title, which Rage see as an affront to their values and beliefs, noting that the name and logo (which includes Farage's name with the final four letters lit up in red) ”brazenly and unlawfully exploits our client's name and logo without the band's prior knowledge or consent.” More importantly King's note added, the “implication of any endorsement by our client of you or your policies is particularly abhorrent.”
Led by fiery lyricist and rapper Zach de la Rocha, RATM has a long-established reputation as a politically minded group whose songs take on governmental hypocrisy, racism and oppression of every stripe — values that King's letter says are in opposition to Farage's equally hot-button, but diametrically opposed views. “As you should know, RATM has publicly denounced the type of right-wing ideology you espouse for decades; in fact, that has been an integral part of the band’s identity and purpose,” the letter continues. “Your anti-immigrant rhetoric, lack of social compassion and barely disguised racism and xenophobia are the antithesis of what RATM stands for. Thus, your surprising attempt to associate yourself with RATM is wholly inappropriate and completely inexplicable, unless it's part of some kind of bizarre cleansing ritual. Whatever the motivation, please stop. Stop using RATM’s name and logo, change the name of your podcast and find some other target to troll. We suggest President Trump.”
King's letter notes that the use of the Rage-like name and logo are a violation of the long-established Lanham Act — which covers unfair competition, false endorsement, false designation of origin and false advertising — as well as a trademark dilution statute and common law rights protecting Rage's name and logo in both the U.S. and UK.
“In the event the foregoing is not crystal clear, demand is hereby made that you immediately cease and desist from using RATM's name and logo, including by changing the name of your podcast and ceasing and desisting from all promotion, marketing, and advertising of the podcast using our client's name or logo- which falsely associates you, your colleagues at LBC and Fox, and your far-right political views with RATM,” the letter concludes.
At press time, a spokesperson for Farage could not be reached for comment.