Village People cop Victor Willis blasts Casablanca Records film for blatant omission: ”Spinning Gold’ spins lies’

Village People, left to right: Randy Jones (the cowboy); David Hodo (the builder); Felipe Rose (the Indian); Victor Willis (the policeman); Glenn Hughes (the leatherman) and Alexander Briley (the GI). (Photo: CBS Archives/Getty IMages)

Spinning Gold, this week’s new biopic about Casablanca Records founder Neil Bogart, covers an impressive list of ’70s superstars including KISS, Donna Summer and George Clinton. But aside from a casual mention in the film’s final 10 minutes and a dance sequence that will have you blinking and missing, one of Casablanca’s greatest success stories is amazingly overlooked.

Now, a founding member of that group took to the project in a social media post titled “Spinning Gold Is SPINNING LIES about the villagers involvement in the film.”

Victor Willis – best known as Village People’s cop and co-writer of the group’s biggest hits, including “YMCA”, “Macho Man”, “In the Navy” and “Go West” – took to Facebook on Wednesday morning to air to make the costumed disco group’s startling omission. He found he had been contacted by many media outlets to conduct interviews about it spinning gold, He said that press releases and promotion for the film misled the public “into believing that Village People would be in the film, when in fact it isn’t.”

Willis directed most of his ire at the late Neil Bogart’s son, Timothy Scott Bogart, who wrote and directed the biopic — or, in Willis’ words, “finally sewed together” the film, which had been in the works since 2011 and once was associated with big names like Justin Timberlake, Spike Lee and Richard Dreyfuss.

“Village People does not appear in this film because Tim Bogart could not afford to pay the necessary royalties associated with the use of Village People music and imagery,” Willis wrote. “So he kind of sidestepped it by putting in an unauthorized scene with people dressed up as villagers doing the ‘YMCA’ dance. And we’re not cool with it at all. I have licensed the use of a portion of ‘YMCA’ for the film soundtrack only.”

Willis went on to criticize what he calls the “shameful and downright awful cast” of Gladys Knight, played by Grammy-winning soul/jazz artist Ledisi, and Donna Summer, played by Grammy-nominated Ariana Grande/ Justin Bieber is portrayed criticized /Panic! at the Disco songwriter and R&B singer Tayla Parx. While Willis Neil Bogart’s other son involved in the film (hit pop songsmith Evan “Kidd” Bogart who served as executive producer), or other notable cast members like Wiz Khalifa, Jason Derulo, Sebastian Maniscalco, Jay Pharoah, Chris not berating Redd, Pink Sweats and Michael Ian Black, he argued that “this iteration of the film (of which there have been many) should never have seen the light of day.”

Throughout their careers, Village People sold more than 100 million albums and singles worldwide and charted five Billboard Hot 100 hits, including top five disco classics “YMCA” and “In the Navy.” They received a star on Hollywood Boulevard’s Walk of Fame in 2008, and “YMCA” was added to the Library of Congress’ National Recording Registry in 2020, which preserves audio recordings deemed “culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant.”

Press representative for Spinning Goldwhich hits theaters on Friday via Hero Partners and Howling Wolf Films declined to comment on the report.

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