FCC Harlem Shake

Screenshot via the Daily Caller

‘Harlem Shake’ creator becomes unlikely net neutrality hero

Baauer said he plans to sue the FCC for using his song without permission.


Tess Cagle


Posted on Dec 15, 2017   Updated on May 22, 2021, 7:55 am CDT

We know, we know. You didn’t expect to see the words “Harlem Shake” in a headline in 2017. We, too, wish the viral dance meme could have stayed buried in 2013. Blame it on the Federal Communications Commission. 

Baauer, the creator of the “Harlem Shake,” has made headlines yet again for standing up against the FCC and the end of net neutrality.

Baauer’s song was used by FCC Chairman Ajit Pai and conservative outlet the Daily Caller in a video entitled “7 Things You Can Still Do on the Internet After Net Neutrality,” released after the FCC voted on Thursday to repeal protections for net neutrality.

Obviously, no one on the internet enjoyed watching Pai participate in a meme that died back in 2013, alongside Martina Markota, known for spreading the thoroughly debunked Pizzagate conspiracy theory.


James Vanderbeek, using his @_diplo_ Twitter account, brought the use of the song to the attention of Baauer Thursday night. Baauer swiftly responded and said he plans to take action.

Baauer told Billboard Dance the track was used without permission and he plans to take legal action against Pai and the FCC.

“The use of my song in this video obviously comes as a surprise to me as it was just brought to my attention,” he said in a statement. “I want to be clear that it was used completely without my consent or council. My team and I are currently exploring every single avenue available to get it taken down. I support net neutrality like the vast majority of this country and am appalled to be associated with its repeal.”

Maybe we’ll have a reason to be grateful for the “Harlem Shake” after all.

Share this article
*First Published: Dec 15, 2017, 9:43 am CST