Whistleblower Edward Snowden has cautioned that the FBI might have initiated a file on singer Oliver Anthony following his rapid rise to fame with his blue-collar anthem.
31-year-old Anthony gained instant popularity with his track “Rich Men North of Richmond,” which laments the toil of paying taxes and “wasting life away.”
His single has struck a chord with many, reaching the top spot on the Billboard Hot 100 chart, and being played during 2024 Republican presidential primary debate.
A use of the the song that Anthony called “aggravating,” as he said he “wrote the song about those people.”
After hitting topping the iTunes list and tweeting like this, the FBI will be making space for him another kind of list, too.
Think I'm kidding? The FBI had a file on John Denver for attending *one* anti-war protest.
They're gonna keep making lists — until they're made to stop. https://t.co/tC4nR3ljDe
— Edward Snowden (@Snowden) August 14, 2023
Snowden, who infamously leaked classified information from the National Security Agency in 2013, advised that the surging popularity of Anthony’s anti-establishment music will make him a target for the FBI.
In a tweet, Snowden wrote, “After hitting topping the iTunes list and tweeting like this, the FBI will be making space for him another kind of list, too.”
“Think I’m kidding? The FBI had a file on John Denver for attending *one* anti-war protest.”
“They’re gonna keep making lists – until they’re made to stop,” he concluded.
Snowden’s remarks came two days after Anthony tweeted “You weren’t born just to pay bills and die,” in mid-August.
Anthony spoke out against his hit single, which is earning him an estimated $40,000 a day since he self-released it after turning down an $8 million record deal,” being used by Fox News during the first Republican presidential primary debate last week.
No words… Thank you. pic.twitter.com/UUFVfJQdab
— Oliver Anthony (@AintGottaDollar) August 13, 2023
Moderator Martha MacCallum asked Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis why he thinks the message of “Rich Men North of Richmond” has been resonating with Americans.
DeSantis responded by going after “Bidenomics” and making a jab at Congress: “Those rich men north of Richmond have put us in this situation,” he remarked.
In a YouTube video shared on Friday, Anthony expressed his amusement that the song had been used in the Republican debate, given that he wrote it “about the people on that stage.”
“You know, the one thing that has bothered me is seeing people wrap politics up into this,” he remarked.
“I’m disappointed to see, like, it’s aggravating to see people on conservative news try to identify with me, like I’m one of them,” he detailed.
“It’s aggravating seeing certain musicians and politicians act like we’re buddies and act like we’re fighting the same struggle here.”
Oliver Anthony RIPS Fox News and Republican Politicians who have tried to use his music for their own political message.
The song isn't just about Biden, it's about ALL of the politicians in Washington, DC and their lies and corruption! pic.twitter.com/nxsRGhdQM8
— Brigitte Gabriel (@ACTBrigitte) August 26, 2023
Anthony was shocked that politicians came to the conclusion that they were “trying to present the same message” as he was in “Rich Men North of Richmond.”
“I’ve had a lot of people reach out to me, and I’ve tried to be polite to everybody. I’ve talked to hundreds of people the last two weeks,” he said about his new reality.
“It seems like certain people want to just ride the attention of the song and maybe make their own selves relevant, and that’s aggravating as hell.”
Anthony said that the other thing he finds “aggravating” is the use of his song during the presidential debate.
“I wrote that song about those people! You know, for them to have so sit there and listen to that, uh, that cracks me up,” he went on.
While he noted that it was “funny” to see their response to his song, it actually has nothing to do with President Biden, and is in fact, “a lot bigger” than the current Commander in Chief.
He also rejected the notion that his smash hit was an anthem for either side of the political aisle.
“This isn’t a Republican and Democrat thing, this isn’t even a United States thing,” he concluded the ten minute video shot in his truck.
“This has been a global response, and don’t let anybody tell you otherwise.”