Public Enemy Fire Flavor Flav After He Refuses to Play Bernie Sanders Rally
In a statement, the rap group said, "Public Enemy and Public Enemy Radio will be moving forward without Flavor Flav. We thank him for his years of service and wish him well."
The decision came after Flav refused to perform at a non-paying benefit gig for the U.S. presidential hopeful on Sunday (March 1). Flavor Flav has been a member of the group for 37 years.
According to group leader Chuck D, Flav's lawyers filed a lawsuit against him on Friday (February 28). Flav also sent a cease and desist letter to Sanders's campaign, accusing them of using his "likeness, image and trademarked clock in promotional materials" without permission.
Instead, Chuck D opted to perform as Public Enemy Radio, an offshoot of the rap group, which the rapper claims he started "to get far away from that ridiculousness." Public Enemy co-founder DJ Lord performed alongside Chuck D at the rally.
Chuck D explained that they use the moniker to perform at benefits and fundraisers like the Sanders rally, and that when Flavor Flav refused to perform at Harry Belafonte's Many Rivers Festival in 2016, it was the last straw.
"Flavor chooses to dance for his money and not do benevolent work like this," Chuck D wrote in a statement. "He has a year to get his act together and get himself straight or he's out."
Chuck D's attorney added: "From a legal standpoint, Chuck could perform as Public Enemy if he ever wanted to; 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."
Read Chuck D's tweets leading up to the ousting of Flavor Flav below.
Last text for me today... time to Get Off My Ass ....I suggest to all the same even this Sunday if you think it's important... pic.twitter.com/NxLlvM4hyi— Chuck D (@MrChuckD) March 1, 2020
... 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
So I don't attack FLAV on what he don't know. I gotta leave him at the crib so y'all trying to fill his persona with some political aplomb is absolutely'stupid' Obviously I understand his craziness after all this damn time. Duh you don't know him from a box of cigars or me either— Chuck D (@MrChuckD) March 1, 2020
Spoke @BernieSanders rally with @EnemyRadio. If there was a $bag, Flav would've been there front & center. He will NOT do free benefit shows. 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— Chuck D (@MrChuckD) March 2, 2020
I heard I'm trending, like I care . I built @EnemyRadioRS so it does benefits & fundraisers ... He said he never gonna do them. So his refusal to do @HarryBelafonte #ManyRiversFestival in Atlanta 2016 was my last time. I built Enemy Radio to get far away from that ridiculousness.— Chuck D (@MrChuckD) March 2, 2020
93yr old @harrybelafonte could bust his ass come 3000 mls to present PublicEnemy its @rockhall induction 2013 ( many still are clueless on) &anyone feel that they cannot give a ounce of time to reciprocate that honor to his @Sankofa fundraiser-to judge a Bikini $how. #Ungrateful— Chuck D (@MrChuckD) March 2, 2020