First, Florida governor Ron DeSantis started a war with Disney. Now he’s upset Netflix. The creative team behind Peaky Blinders, Netflix’s gangster series starring Oppenheimer’s Cillian Murphy, has slammed the Republican presidential nominee hopeful for using footage from the show in his most recent campaign ad, which is currently under bipartisan fire for its heavily anti-LGBTQ+ rhetoric.
DeSantis’s ad begins by taking shots at his biggest competition for the Republican presidential nomination, former president Donald Trump, for allegedly being soft on the LGBTQ+ community. “To wrap up ‘Pride Month,’ let’s hear from the politician who did more than any other Republican to celebrate it,” reads a tweet from DeSantis’s “rapid response” operation, which embedded the campaign video in the tweet. The video then features a supercut of Trump making statements that could be interpreted as supporting the LGBTQ+ community.
Halfway through the ad, DeSantis—a vocal anti-LGBTQ+ politician who supported and signed Florida’s “Don’t Say Gay” bill into law—attempts to set himself apart from Trump, splicing in headlines that affirm his commitment to stripping the LGBTQ+ community of their rights. The video of DeSantis contains multiple cuts to murderous, hyper-masculine characters from film and television, including Murphy in Peaky Blinders, Brad Pitt in Troy, and Christian Bale in American Psycho.
On Wednesday, July 5, the team behind Peaky Blinders made it clear that they have nothing to do with Desantis’s ad or with his political beliefs. “On behalf of the partners of Peaky Blinders—Steven Knight, Cillian Murphy, Caryn Mandabach Productions, Tiger Aspect Productions and Banijay Rights—we confirm the footage of Tommy Shelby’s character used within the video posted by Ron DeSantis’ campaign was obtained without permission of official license,” reads a tweet from the show’s official account. “We do not support nor endorse the video’s narrative and strongly disapprove of the use of the content in this manner.”
This is far from the first time an ad campaign has been called out for using an artist’s work without permission, often taking it out of context to support a politician or cause. A plethora of musicians and bands, including but not limited to Adele, Axl Rose, The Beatles, Bruce Springsteen, Nickelback, the Rolling Stones, Rihanna, Queen, Tom Petty, and the Village People, have voiced their opposition to Trump using their music at his campaign rallies and in his campaign ads, with many taking steps to legally forbid the former president from using their music.
Last month, Matt Damon and Ben Affleck’s production company, Artists Equity, also slammed Trump for using audio of Damon from its movie Air in a campaign ad, saying the company “had no foreknowledge and did not consent” to Trump’s use of the clip. And when the NRA shared a clip of Amy Poehler’s beloved Leslie Knope from Parks and Recreation on Twitter in 2018, the comedian found a way to voice her disapproval despite the fact that she is not on Twitter. “Can you tweet the NRA for me and tell them I said fuck off?” she texted Parks and Recreation cocreator Michael Schur, who did just that.