Flavor Flav Responds to Firing & Public Enemy Releases Official Statement (UPDATE)

More clarifications from both parties.

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UPDATE (March 3, 2020): Flavor Flav has responded to his ejection from Public Enemy, publicly reaching out to Chuck D via Twitter about the matter. The hypeman directly tagged his ex-bandmate in a series of tweets and voiced out his disbelief, writing, “are you kidding me right now???,,,over Bernie Sanders??? You wanna destroy something we’ve built over 35 years OVER POLITICS???” Flav also clarified that he’s been clean for a decade, and that he didn’t sue Chuck D for the Bernie Sanders poster. “I’m not your employee,,,i’m your partner,,,you can’t fire me,,,there is no Public Enemy without Flavor Flav,,,so let’s get it right Chuck,,,” he added.

Public Enemy also released an official group statement amidst the drama, noting that they “did not part ways with Flavor Flav over his political views” but simply because of his work ethic. Members Chuck D, James Bomb, DJ Lord, Pop Diesel and Jahi wrote:

“Flavor Flav has been on suspension since 2016 when he was MIA from the Harry Belafonte benefit in Atlanta, Georgia. That was the last straw for the group. He had previously missed numerous live gigs from Glastonbury to Canada, album recording sessions and photo shoots. He always chose to party over work.

“Public Enemy Radio toured Europe and co-headlined with the Wu-Tang Clan in May 2019 without Flavor. They have also done numerous benefit shows without Flavor. While Public Enemy Radio was moving forward, Flavor Flav was starring on the reality show ‘Growing up Hip-Hop New York,’ where an episode featured his children discussing an intervention and putting him into rehab.

It’s time to move on and everyone wishes Flavor well.”


ORIGINAL STORY (March 2, 2020): Flavor Flav has been fired from Public Enemy. The legendary hip-hop group confirmed the parting in a brief statement, writing, “Public Enemy and Public Enemy Radio will be moving forward without Flavor Flav. We thank him for his years of service and wish him well.”

The news arrives just days after Flav sent a cease and desist letter to Bernie Sanders over a “Fight The Power” poster promoting the politician’s Los Angeles rally on March 1 — a gathering that promoted a performance by Public Enemy Radio, consisted of Chuck D, DJ Lord, Jahi and the S1Ws. According to reports, the letter alleged that the Sanders campaign utilized the hip-hop icon’s “unauthorized likeness, image and trademarked clock” as promotional material for the rally despite the fact that the hypeman “has not endorsed any political candidate.”

“While Chuck is certainly free to express his political view as he sees fit — his voice alone does not speak for Public Enemy,” the letter states. “The planned performance will only be Chuck D of Public Enemy, it will not be a performance by Public Enemy. Those who truly know what Public Enemy stands for know what time it is, there is no Public Enemy without Flavor Flav,” the letter continues. “Flav … has not endorsed any political candidate in this election cycle. … The continued publicizing of this grossly misleading narrative is, at a minimum, careless and irresponsible if not intentionally misleading. It is unfortunate that a political campaign would be so careless with the artistic integrity of such iconoclastic figures in American culture.” Flav ended the letter with a handwritten note to Sanders, simply writing, “Hey Bernie, don’t do this.”

Meanwhile, Chuck D’s lawyer fired back at the cease and desist letter from Flav’s camp, noting, “From a legal standpoint, Chuck could perform as Public Enemy if he ever wanted to; he is the sole owner of the Public Enemy trademark. He originally drew the logo himself in the mid-’80s, is also the creative visionary and the group’s primary songwriter, having written Flavor’s most memorable lines.” Prior to Flav’s firing, the co-founder himself added, “Flavor chooses to dance for his money and not do benevolent work like this. He has a year to get his act together and get himself straight or he’s out.”

Chuck D also took to Twitter twice to release more personal statements regarding Flav’s firing. Not once to mince words, the co-founder first clarified that their rift was a long time coming and didn’t start with Sanders, but rather stemmed from his ex-bandmate’s refusal to support Harry Belafonte’s organization after he inducted the group in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2013. He returned to the social media platform sometime after Public Enemy Radio’s performance at the Sanders rally to air out more of his frustrations. Revealing more specific details of their rift, Chuck D explained that Flav would’ve only agreed to appear at the rally if there was money involved. He further stated that Flav’s dislike for fundraiser and benefit shows pushed him to create Public Enemy Radio — a group that performs for those kinds of setups — to “get away from that ridiculousness.” Chuck D added, “If there was a $bag, Flav would’ve been there front & center. He will NOT do free benefit shows. Sued me in court the 1st time I let him back in. His ambulance lawyer sued me again on Friday & so now he stays home & better find REHAB.” 

Elsewhere in music, Pop Smoke’s family has shared a statement in regards to the rapper’s passing.

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