Toni Basil—the esteemed choreographer whose 1981 hit “Mickey” elevated her into the world of unkillable ’80s earworms—went on the warpath today, issuing a lawsuit against Disney, South Park, Viacom, and Forever 21 for what she’s calling unauthorized use of her iconic song. Basil’s accusations center on a company called Razor & Tie Direct, which, she says, has been illegally licensing the song, without her permission, for years.
R&T supposedly acquired the rights to “Mickey” through what the lawsuit calls a “complex shell game” after the bankruptcy of her original label, with Basil—who acknowledges her own status as a one-hit wonder, whose livelihood is largely linked to the song’s usage, in the suit—claiming she’s been kept in the dark on the fact that it was being licensed without her say-so. Her suit cites Forever 21 and Disney for using the song (and its implied celebrity endorsement) in an ad campaign for a clothing line, while South Park busted the track out for a little “Oh Obama, you’re so fine” back in 2008.
It’s likely that representatives for the big-name companies (including Viacom, whose RuPaul’s Drag Race had contestants lip sync to the song’s Spanish version a few seasons ago) will plead that they didn’t know R&T wasn’t authorized to license “Mickey” to them. The real battle will presumably be between Basil and R&T, as the dancer and her legal team work to prove that misuse of “Mickey” has caused her “sleep deprivation, nightmares, and anxiety,” and that the rights to the song rightfully belong to her. (To her, yeeeeeah, to her.)