Eminem Really Did Get a Visit From the Secret Service Over His Donald Trump Lyrics
In “The Ringer,” the first track from Eminem’s tenth album, Kamikaze, the veteran MC raps the following lines: “‘Cause Agent Orange just sent the Secret Service / To meet in person to see if I really think of hurtin’ him / Or ask if I’m linked to terrorists / I said, ‘Only when it comes to ink and lyricists.'”
Agent Orange, to be perfectly clear, refers to Donald Trump. Eminem, to put it mildly, doesn’t like him: He famously spent an entire BET Awards freestyle clowning on the president for being racist and having a bad tan, and his Revival song “Framed” had a line about driving around with Ivanka Trump in the trunk of his car. (Two decades removed from “Kim,” he’s still got that famous Eminem sense of good taste.) But did the Secret Service really pay him a visit to make sure he wasn’t serious about inflicting violence on the first family?
They did. The answer comes to us from BuzzFeed news reporter Jason Leopold, who specializes in using the Freedom of Information Act to important questions about the operations of the federal government, such as whether we’re using taxpayer money to conduct security checks on rappers who are famous for the intentionally over-the-top violence in their lyrics. Via a FOIA request, Leopold found that the Secret Service opened a file on Eminem shortly after the release of Revival in 2017, in response to contact from a “concerned citizen” about the lyrics of “Framed.”
Secret Service agents interviewed Eminem and his lawyers about the “Framed” lyrics and the BET Awards freestyle on Jan. 16, 2018. According to Leopold, the documents that he got from the agency in response to his FOIA request were redacted in the sections that contain specific discussion of what was said during the interview. But the docs do show that Eminem’s case was marked “NON-REFERRED” to federal prosecutors, indicating that the agents came to the conclusion that he did not pose any sort of serious criminal threat.