The strange saga began with a post on the satirical news site, Newslo, which included fake Palin quotes such as “negroes loved being slaves.” Per Pitchfork, Banks went off on the former vice presidential candidate in a series of lurid tweets, writing, “Let’s find the biggest burliest blackest negroes and let them run a train on her. Film it and put it on Worldstar.”
Palin initially responded to Banks on Facebook, calling her “Female Rapper” and “little darling” and scolding her for not using her platform to condemn racism and empower women to protect themselves from rape and sexual assault. She also chastised Banks for the “anti-woman, pro-rape garbage that you seem to endorse.”
Banks then apologized to Palin on her website for “any emotional distress or reputational scarring I may have caused you.” The rapper wrote that her response was intended to be a “racially driven joke to counter what I believed to be real, racist rhetoric,” and insisted that her remarks weren’t meant to imply rape (“I used the term ‘run a train,’ which is slang for group sex, NOT for ‘rape'”).
Yet Palin was not assuaged by the apology, writing in a statement to People: “I’ve had enough of the unanswered threats and attacks against my family and me. So, for the first time I’m going to enjoy the only retribution some protected ‘celebrities’ seem to understand — I’m suing Azealia Banks and can’t wait to share my winnings with others who have gone defenseless against lies and dangerous attacks far too long.”
Palin said that she is “in discussions with attorneys” and went on to write, “Let’s be honest here: if a white girl were to say what this black girl is saying, the screams for the entire white population’s head would be louder than the nonsensical rap that Azealia spews all the way to the bank. The white girl would probably be locked up.”
Banks immediately fired back on Twitter writing, “If Sarah Palin actually decides to sue me I’ll only use the controversy to make myself an even larger American Cultural Figure.” And, “When you’re a public figure who courts attention, you can’t sue [people] for making jokes. Freedom of Speech girllllyyyyy.”