Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.

R.E.M. finally gets Twitter to take action on a Trump tweet

Photo: Morena Brengola (Getty Images)

As the sidewinder sleeps, the president tweets, and though Trump’s inane barks routinely enrage no shortage of reply guys, the leader of the free world probably didn’t expect to make an enemy out of the shiny, happy people in R.E.M. That’s exactly what happened this weekend, though, when Trump retweeted a video that played the alt-rock outfit’s “Everybody Hurts” over shots of politicians like Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Bernie Sanders looking embarrassed by Trump’s State Of The Union address.

While memes like this are routine in Trumpland, the president’s endorsement of it drew the eye of the band and their publisher, Universal Music Publishing Group, who, gasp, actually got it removed. That’s a pretty big deal considering Twitter loves Trump and routinely overlooks the pervasive misinformation he peddles, not to mention his open support of far-right hate groups.


“World Leader PRETEND!!!” the official R.E.M. account wrote on Friday evening in a tweet tagging the president. “Congress, Media—ghost this faker!!! Love, R.E.M.” By Saturday morning, CNBC reports, the video had disappeared from both the president’s timeline and that of the chud who made it. Later that day, it reappeared underscored by Lee Greenwood’s“Proud to be an American,” which isn’t nearly as funny.

R.E.M. bassist Mike Mills railed against the meme and its creator on Twitter, then proceeded to engage the swarm of trolls that flooded his mentions. He eventually made peace with the meme’s creator, but continued to gleefully bash the president, calling him “a fraud, a charlatan, and a con man.”


This wasn’t the band’s first dalliance with Trump. Previously, the band joined Rihanna, Elton John, Aerosmith, The Rolling Stones, and Pharrell Williams in asking that the president please stop playing their music at his rallies.


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About the author

Randall Colburn

Randall Colburn is The A.V. Club's Internet Culture Editor. He lives in Chicago, occasionally writes plays, and was a talking head in Best Worst Movie, the documentary about Troll 2.