Micky Dolenz, the last surviving member of the iconic 1960s-era, made-for-TV pop band The Monkees, is suing the FBI for files indicating the agency was monitoring the group,.
The heavily redacted file from 1967, first reported on by Rolling Stone, appears to show that the FBI was investigating the band for allegedly spreading anti-Vietnam war messaging during their shows.
In one section of the file, an unnamed FBI source who attended a concert says:
“…During the concert, subliminal messages were depicted on the screen, which … constituted left wing innovations of a political nature…”
Dolenz’ lawyer, Mark Zaid, well-known for representing the whistleblower during former President Donald Trump’s Ukraine scandal, considers himself a big fan of the Monkees, which helped trigger his interest in this case.
“Understand that The Monkees existed in a very tumultuous period of time in the United States,” Zaid told CBS L.A. “Obviously, Micky still performs today and The Monkees — until others passed away — were all still performing, but they came to the world’s attention in 1966 or so, when we were in Vietnam and the hippies are becoming big and the drug culture.”
When he learned of the FBI file on the band, Zaid says, he filed a Freedom of Information request, but that the request went unanswered for several months. So, he launched the lawsuit to find out exactly what the FBI had on the group.
“Some informant, probably an FBI agent who wanted to take their kid to The Monkees concert, went to The Monkees show in, I think, San Francisco, and filed a report back to the FBI about the anti-war protest movement. Why was the FBI surveilling The Monkees, whether the individual members or the band, what does it say? And what does it say, larger, about the activities of the FBI during the 1960s,” Zaid remarked.
The group had four No. 1 albums in 1967, an achievement no other band has matched to this day.
CBS L.A. reached out to the Department of Justice after hours about the lawsuit and hasn’t heard back yet.