UPDATE: Public Enemy issued a statement clarifying their stance on the dismissal of longtime hypeman Flavor Flav, saying he was not fired “over his political views,” Billboard reports. The letter — signed by Chuck D, James Bomb, DJ Lord, Pop Diesel and Jahi — reads: “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.”
The statement goes on to note that Public Enemy Radio — the name the group uses when not all members are present — has embarked on several tours and performed various benefit shows without Flavor Flav. “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.”
Public Enemy was billed at the rally as “Public Enemy Radio,” an offshoot of the group that includes Chuck D, DJ Lord, Jahi and S1Ws but not Flavor Flav. Still, two days before the rally, Flavor Flav sent a cease-and-desist letter to the Sanders campaign, accusing it of using the hypeman’s “unauthorized likeness, image and trademarked clock,” to promote the rally, even though Flavor Flav hadn’t endorsed a candidate. Public Enemy issued a statement Sunday saying they would be “moving forward” without Flavor Flav, effectively firing the veteran member after more than 35 years.
On Monday, Flavor Flav responded to the dismissal, tweeting at Chuck D, “Are you kidding me right now??? Over Bernie Sanders??? You wanna destroy something we’ve built over 35 years OVER POLITICS??? All because I don’t wanna endorse a candidate, I’m very disappointed in you and your decisions right now Chuck.”
.@MrChuckD are you kidding me right now???,,,over Bernie Sanders??? You wanna destroy something we've built over 35 years OVER POLITICS???,,,all because I don't wanna endorse a candidate,,,I'm very disappointed in you and your decisions right now Chuck,,,
— FLAVOR FLAV (@FlavorFlav) March 2, 2020
Flavor Flav continued: “And @MrChuckD, I didn’t sue you on Friday, I asked the @BernieSanders campaign to correct misleading marketing, that’s all it was. 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.”
Flavor Flav also hit Chuck D for insinuating he was abusing alcohol or drugs, saying he’d been clean for 10 years and “battled addiction before like millions of other Americans… Chuck you know better than to lie about shit like that.” That comment, as well as Flav’s denial that he sued Public Enemy, was prompted by a Sunday tweet from Chuck D, in which he suggested the hypeman would’ve performed at the Sanders rally had Public Enemy been paid for the gig. “He will NOT do free benefit shows,” Chuck D wrote. “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.”