A Bunch of Singing Kids Are Suing Donald Trump -- Can We Call Him a Villain Now?

freedom kids

Donald Trump has officially become as despicable as a villain in a Charles Dickens novel: The Republican presidential candidate is now being sued by a troupe of singing children who say he wouldn't pay them for performing patriotic hits at Trump rallies -- or even allow them to sell their sparkly, spangly merchandise (as previously agreed). 

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In a lawsuit, Jeff Popick, manager of USA Freedom Kids (and father to one of the kids involved), said that Trump's campaign "broke verbal agreements for performances at two events and refused to pay even a $2,500 stipend for the group's travel expenses." In fact, Trump never even agreed to pay the group anything at all for their performance at a rally in Pensacola, Florida, this January. In place of a fee, the campaign promised Popick that he would be able to sell merchandise. Figuring they'd sell about $2,500 worth of T-shirts, CDs, posters, and the like, Popick agreed -- but when they arrived at the event, he discovered that there was no merchandise table set up.

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Even worse, security wouldn't allow the kids to bring any of the products inside Pensacola Bay Center, so they left all the merch in the parking lot ... where it was stolen while they performed. Incidentally, that performance looked like this:

After an experience like that, you might wonder what could have possessed Popick to sign the Freedom Kids up for another Trump gig, but the Pensacola sh*tstorm cloud was not without its silver lining -- namely, newfound notoriety thanks to a viral video of the performance. So Popick agreed to let the group sing at a second rally, even though this one was going to be held in Iowa (not Florida, where the Freedom Kids live) and the Trump campaign naturally refused to cover the cost of plane fare and lodging. Thinking the publicity would pay off, the Freedom Kids paid their own way ... only to find upon arrival that hey, guess what? Their services were no longer required. Haha, fun trip though, right?

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"It was a long, overnight odyssey," Popick told the Daily Beast. "They were exhausted, but excited to perform. We flew nonstop to Chicago, and then had to drive another five and a half hours to Des Moines. It wasn't until after we were already in the vehicle about an hour or two into it that we had to break the news to the girls."

Awful, but not even the worst part. The worst part was the Trump campaign's consolation prize for the kids: guaranteed seats at the rally on the condition that they wouldn't speak to the media about the event. Ouch.

Since you're reading this story, you've probably guessed that Popick wasn't having the whole "don't talk to the media" thing; indeed, the insulting edict served as something of a last straw. And after a reported nine months of asking the Trump campaign to right its wrong, Popick is finally suing for as much as $15,000 in damages.

"This is not an opportunistic thing where we're suing Donald Trump," he told the Daily Beast. "We're not suing for emotional distress and all that other stuff that people do when they trump up -- no pun intended -- when they trump up a lawsuit. That's not what this is. This is tangible dollars I spent under false pretenses."

Fair enough. Popick and his group absolutely deserve to be compensated for the loss of promised income and publicity, particularly when they spent so much money out of pocket to hold up their end of the deal. That said, of course, one can't help but think that perhaps if Popick had paid a little bit more attention to what Trump's been saying and doing these past months, he wouldn't have considered entering into any sort of business deal with his campaign to begin with. Still, a deal is a deal, and it's especially gross that kids were cheated and exploited here. Not that we'd expect anything less from Donald Trump.

 

Image via Northwest Florida Daily News/YouTube

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