Public Enemy Fires Flavor Flav Following Dispute Over Bernie Sanders Rally
The conflict began when Public Enemy's Chuck D planned to perform at the Democratic presidential contender's rally.
March 02, 2020 at 5:14 pm
It's a sad day for fans of iconic rap group Public Enemy. After more than 35 years together, Public Enemy has fired Flavor Flav.
According to Rolling Stone, the conflict began when Public Enemy's Chuck D planned to perform at Bernie Sanders' rally in Los Angeles on Sunday. Flav, who was born William Jonathan Drayton Jr., then issued a cease-and-desist letter against Bernie Sanders, saying Chuck D "does not speak for Public Enemy."
Sending the memo through his lawyer on Friday, Flav said he 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."
“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," the letter continues.
According to Rolling Stone, Flav also included a handwritten note at the bottom of the cease-and-desist letter, saying “Hey Bernie, don’t do this.”
Public Enemy then released a statement on Sunday to announce the end of its longtime partnership with Flav.
“Public Enemy and Public Enemy Radio will be moving forward without Flavor Flav,” the group said in a statement Sunday. “We thank him for his years of service and wish him well.”
Chuck D's lawyer said Chuck could legally perform as Public Enemy because "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,” the lawyer told Rolling Stone.
Chuck D went to Twitter to note other issues the group has had with Flav."It’s not about BERNIE with Flav... he don’t know the difference between BarrySanders or BernieSanders he don’t know either. FLAV refused to support @Sankofa after @harrybelafonte inducted us. He don’t do that."
... last final note the last final note was my last straw was long ago. It’s not about BERNIE with Flav... he don’t know the difference between BarrySanders or BernieSanders he don’t know either. FLAV refused to support @Sankofa after @harrybelafonte inducted us. He don’t do that pic.twitter.com/5Ky9dTnzmd— Chuck D (@MrChuckD) March 1, 2020
According to Pitchfork, Chuck D and Public Enemy Radio performed at Sanders’ rally on Sunday after firing the rapper.
“Flavor chooses to dance for his money and not do benevolent work like this,” Chuck D said in a statement.
Flav and Public Enemy also had conflicts in 2017 because of a dispute over unpaid profits. Filing the lawsuit against Chuck D, Flav said he wasn't getting his share of the earnings. The case against Chuck D was dismissed last year. However, the rapper still has a pending lawsuit against Public Enemy’s business management firm, Eastlink.