Advertisement

Public Enemy: Flavor Flav was not fired ‘over his political views’

This May 29, 2015 file photo shows Chuck D, left and Flavor Flav of Public Enemy performing at the 2015 BottleRock Napa Valley Music Festival in Napa, Calif.
This May 29, 2015 file photo shows Chuck D, left and Flavor Flav of Public Enemy performing at the 2015 BottleRock Napa Valley Music Festival in Napa, Calif. Rich Fury/Invision/AP, File

It’s been only three days since Flavor Flav, a co-founding member of Public Enemy, was unexpectedly and abruptly fired from the beloved hip-hop group.

Though the rapper’s dismissal followed a public spat over Public Enemy’s plan to perform at a Bernie Sanders campaign event last Sunday, the Fight the Power troupe has since said Flavor Flav was not fired from the band “over his political views,” but for myriad other reasons.

In a tweet shared on Monday, Public Enemy revealed that the 60-year-old had actually “been on suspension since 2016,” following a number of missed performances, including the Many Rivers to Cross music festival in Atlanta, Ga. — which doubled as a Harry Belafonte charity event.

“That was the last straw for the group,” the statement read. Flavor Flav “had previously missed numerous live gigs from Glastonbury to Canada, album recording sessions and photo shoots. He always chose to party over work.”

Story continues below advertisement

“It’s time to move on and everyone wishes Flavor well,” concluded the statement, which was signed by Public Enemy co-founder Chuck D and additional members James Bomb, Pop Diesel and DJ Lord.

READ MORE: Genesis embarking on reunion tour — with no Peter Gabriel

At first, some fans were under the impression Flavor Flav was exiled from the group because he and his attorney sent a cease-and-desist letter to Sanders.

The legal document came in response to an announcement that Chuck D, 59, had planned to perform under the group’s name at one of Sanders’ political rallies — similar to what The Strokes did for the 78-year-old last month.

Story continues below advertisement

Flavor Flav argued that Public Enemy Radio — a Chuck D-led offshoot of Public Enemy, featuring DJ Lord, Jahi and the S1Ws — had used his “unauthorized likeness, image, and trademarked clock.”

Flavor Flav fired from Public Enemy over Bernie Sanders dispute
Flavor Flav fired from Public Enemy over Bernie Sanders dispute

“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 read. “The planned performance will only be Chuck D of Public Enemy, it will not be a performance by Public Enemy.

“Sanders has promised to Fight the Power with hip hop icons Public Enemy — but this Rap Icon will not be performing at the Sanders Rally. To be clear Flav… has not endorsed any political candidate in this election cycle and any suggestion to the contrary is plainly untrue.”

READ MORE: ‘Mulan’ remake drops Li Shang character because of #MeToo movement

Story continues below advertisement

During an interview with the Guardian on Wednesday, Flavor Flav tried to clear the air, saying he doesn’t “have anything against Bernie.”

“I think he’s a good person and I wish him luck,” he said. “I think they’re all good people… Except (Donald) Trump.

“Some people tried to say I did this because I’m a Trump supporter and that’s not true. F–k Trump.”

Chuck D said on Twitter that the incident was “not about Bernie,” joking, “he don’t know the difference between Barry Sanders or Bernie Sanders.”

Barry Sanders is a former running back for the NFL‘s Detroit Lions.

Story continues below advertisement

READ MORE: Ousted Grammys CEO Deborah Dugan officially fired

Public Enemy Radio said the current band members will continue to perform together and release a brand new album next month.

Along with Chuck D, Flavor Flav was a member of the group for 37 years.

— With files from Katie Scott and the Associated Press

adam.wallis@globalnews.ca