“This action involves the usurpation of money and property rights from Plaintiff William J. Drayton, known as ‘Flavor Flav.’ Drayton is recognized as one of the two key members of groundbreaking Hip Hop group Public Enemy. Public Enemy have been inducted into the Rock ‘n’ Roll Hall of Fame and have sold tens of millions of records,” the suit states. “Despite Drayton’s position in Public Enemy, the group’s management and related companies have for years attempted to minimize his role in the Public Enemy business, while continuing to rely upon Drayton’s fame and persona to market the brand."
In the lawsuit, Flavor Flav (real name William J. Drayton) claims that he and Chuck D (real name Carlton Ridenhour) had a long-established agreement that profits from their music, merchandise and concerts would be split between them. Despite that alleged arrangement, Flavor Flav claims that Public Enemy's business management firm Eastlink has not been sending the earnings he is owed, which have "diminished to almost nothing, and Drayton has been refused accountings, even on the items bearing his likeness," according to the lawsuit.
Representatives for Flavor Flav, Chuck D and Public Enemy did not immediately respond to Rolling Stone's request for comment.
The suit also alleges that Flavor Flav's voice and image were used without his consent on Public Enemy's recent LP, Nothing is Quick in the Desert, which they released as a free download in June. The suit claims Flavor Flav requested $75,000 to record the album, of which he only received $7,500.
Beyond claiming Flavor Flav is owed the aforementioned royalties and fees, the suit also alleges that several merchandise deals, including one brokered by producer Gary G-Wiz to make action figures of the members, were made without Flavor Flav's consent or any compensation. Gary G-Wiz is also named in the lawsuit, as TMZ notes.
The suit seeks unspecified damages.