- Flavor Flav was fired from hip hop group Public Enemy after he sent a cease and desist letter to the Sanders campaign.
- Chuck D, along with Public Enemy Radio, an offshoot of Public Enemy, performed at a Bernie Sanders rally. Flavor Flav was not set to play but claimed the campaign misled people into thinking he was involved.
- Chuck D has been vocal about his support for Sanders, but Flavor Flav has not endorsed a 2020 candidate.
- Chuck D’s lawyers maintain he was allowed to perform at the event under the name Public Enemy Radio. Chuck D sent out a series of tweets claiming that Flavor Flav often refuses to perform at benefit events where he won’t get paid.
Flavor Flav Booted After Cease and Desist
It almost goes without saying that the 2020 election has caused division in homes, families, and friend groups across the United States. Now, hip hop group Public Enemy has also fallen victim to this pattern, leading to the firing of member Flavor Flav.
Rolling Stone broke the news Sunday that Flavor Flav was no longer part of the group, after being a main player in it since its inception in 1985. The news came as fellow Public Enemy member Chuck D was set to take the stage at a Bernie Sanders rally in Los Angeles, a decision that did not sit well with Flavor Flav.
“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 group said in a statement to Rolling Stone.
The riff began between Flavor Flav and Chuck D on Thursday when the news that Public Enemy Radio was set to play the Sanders rally. Public Enemy Radio is an offshoot of Public Enemy led by Chuck D including DJ Lord, Jahi, and the S1Ws.
This resulted in Flavor Flav hitting Sanders’ campaign with a cease and desist, alleging that promotion for the concert would mislead people to believe he would be attending as a Public Enemy member. The letter claims the campaign used “the unauthorized use of his likeness, image and trademarked clock in promotional materials” for the rally.
Unlike Chuck D, who has been vocal about his support for Sanders, the letter states that Flavor Flav has not endorsed any candidate in 2020.
“While Chuck is certainly free to express his political views as he sees fit–his voice alone does not speak for Public Enemy,” the letter continued. “The planned performance will only be Chuck D of Public Enemy, it will not be a performance by Public Enemy…There is no Public Enemy without Flavor Flav.”
“Bernie, his name is Flavor Flav and he does NOT approve your message!” the last line of the letter says. It is signed by Flavor Flav’s lawyer, as well as Flavor Flav himself, who included a handwritten note saying, “Hey Bernie, don’t do this.”
Chuck D Responds
Chuck D’s lawyers believe that Flavor Flav’s cease and desist did not stand on strong legal ground.
“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,” his legal team said in a statement to Rolling Stone. Chuck D also spoke to the outlet about his frustration himself.
“Flavor chooses to dance for his money and not do benevolent work like this,” Chuck D told the magazine.
Before Flavor Flav’s firing, Chuck D also sent out a series of tweets about the cease and desist letter. He claimed that some of his frustrations stem from Flavor Flav not showing support for Harry Belafonte’s group that fights social injustice after he inducted Public Enemy into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
After performing at the rally, when news of Flavor Flav’s departure from Public Enemy had broken, Chuck D hopped back on Twitter. He said that Flavor Flav has a history of not agreeing to perform at benefit shows, and that had there have been a financial incentive to perform at the Sanders rally, Flavor Flav “would’ve been there front & center.”
As Chuck D mentioned, this is not the only legal battle he and Flavor Flav have been a part of. In 2017, Flavor Flav sued Chuck D and his management company over alleged unpaid profits. The suit was dismissed in 2019, but some think it could be what Chuck D was alluding to in his tweets.
Fans React to Political Moment
In addition to Chuck D’s frustrations with Flavor Flav’s unwillingness to do non-profit kind of work, many have turned to potential political divides between the two. Public Enemy as a group has been known to get political, but Chuck D, in particular, has been very open and active about his political beliefs. In 2017 Chuck D wrote an op-ed for the Daily Beast in 2017 called “Why Donald Trump Is a White Supremacist.”
At SXSW in 2016, he said, “Fuck Donald Trump” on stage. At that same event, Flavor Flav posed a voice of dissent.
“There’s a lot of people talking a lot of shit about Trump, but guess what? He’s winning,” Flavor Flav told Billboard. “The man is winning. I ain’t gonna lie, but listen, the United States has been ran a certain way for decades and decades and decades. You never know: Maybe Trump could possibly do something. Maybe he might step in office and do something. I’m not going to doubt him.”
The news of Flavor Flav being kicked out of Public Enemy caused a stir online, with many noting that it felt like a politically charged situation.
Some saw it as a metaphor for America in 2020.
Flavor Flav has not commented on the matter yet. According to Rolling Stone, Public Enemy Radio will be releasing a new album in April.
See what others are saying: (Esquire) (Daily Beast) (The Hollywood Reporter)
“Dahmer” Series Breaks Netflix Records Amid Backlash For Exploiting Victims’ Stories
Family members of some of the murderer’s victims say the program is “retraumatizing.”
“Dahmer” Lands Successful Week on Netflix
While criticisms mount against “Dahmer – Monster: The Jeffrey Dahmer Story,” the true crime series broke Netflix’s record as the most-watched first week for a series debut.
According to data provided by the streaming giant, the Evan Peters-led show was watched for over 196 million hours between its release on Sept. 21 and Sept. 25.
“Dahmer” is the newest of several pieces of fiction and media based on the famous serial killer. Created by Ryan Murphy and Ian Brennan, the series quickly generated a lot of attention online, primarily from those concerned the show is exploiting a gruesome true story.
Critics have echoed those fears, giving the show a mixed 50% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. The “Critic’s Consensus” blurb on the site states that while the show is “seemingly self-aware of the peril in glorifying Jeffrey Dahmer” the story still “tilts this horror story into the realm of queasy exploitation.”
Victims’ Families Speak Out
The family of Errol Lindsey, one of Dahmer’s victims, has also spoken out against the series. In a viral tweet, Lindsey’s cousin Eric Perry said his family is “pissed about the show.”
“It’s retraumatizing over and over again, and for what?” he wrote. “How many movies/shows/documentaries do we need?”
In much of the promotion for the series, Netflix claimed it would be told from the perspective of the victims. Perry slammed that narrative, noting that his family was never even contacted by the streamer about the project.
“So when they say they’re doing this ‘with respect to the victims’ or ‘honoring the dignity of the families’, no one contacts them,” he wrote. “My cousins wake up every few months at this point with a bunch of calls and messages and they know there’s another Dahmer show. It’s cruel.”
Lindsey’s sister, Rita Isbell, echoed that claim in an essay she wrote for Insider, noting that Netflix did not notify her of the show, or ask her any questions about her brother.
She said that watching the show “felt like reliving it all over again.”
“It brought back all the emotions I was feeling back then,” she wrote.
“It’s sad that they’re just making money off of this tragedy. That’s just greed,” she continued.
Obsession With Dahmer
Controversy has also grown from some of the responses to the series, as many viewers have posted fan edits of the show that romanticize Dahmer. Some pair clips of Peters’ Dahmer with his victims to love songs or pop ballads, leaving a bad taste in the mouths of those who do not understand why someone would make content glorifying the killer.
Others have responded to the show by calling Dahmer “hot” or posting thirst tweets about his mug shot. This has resulted in a backlash of its own.
“Jeffrey Dahmer molested and murdered people, mostly black men and boys,” one person wrote. “So to see people making edits and thirst traps of him is a little off putting.”
“if I see anyone tweeting thirst tweets about Jeffrey Dahmer I’m immediately unfollowing,” another person said. “That’s so fuckin nasty.”
Concerns that this kind of media results in more people admiring Dahmer are also mounting in Milwaukee, where many of his crimes took place. According to TMZ, the city is considering creating something to honor the victims, but officials fear a physical memorial would turn into a “mecca” for Dahmer’s fans.
YouTube Removes Age Restriction From Nicki Minaj Video After Singer Calls Company a “Bogus Platform”
Even though her video can now be viewed by all YouTuber users, Minaj made it clear she was upset that the age-gate tanked its view count in the first 24 hours.
Nicki Minaj Vs. YouTube
Nicki Minaj called out YouTube on Monday after the platform age-restricted her new music video for “Likkle Miss Remix” featuring Skeng.
By age-restricting a video, YouTube blocks users who are under 18 or not logged into a Google account from viewing the content.
Minaj’s video features close-up shots of people in skimpy outfits twerking, but several videos on YouTube with similar imagery have not been gated. Cardi B and Megan Thee Stallion’s “WAP” video is available for everyone, as is Minaj’s own “Anaconda” video.
In a since-deleted Instagram post, Minaj accused YouTube of being inconsistent and playing favorites.
“They restricted my fucking video but have things a million fucking times worse on their BOGUS FKNG PLATFORM,” she wrote in a post that included a screenshot of YouTube’s age-restriction notice. “This is what they do to keep you from winning while doing ads for another ppl and posting fake fkng stats. Because the same ppl who run YouTube are in bed with a certain record label and mngmnt company.”
Minaj further alleged that YouTube’s actions were done to prevent her from getting a significant number of views in the video’s first 24 hours, which is often the most crucial timeframe for a video’s success. She continued to assert that the Google-owned company has a bias toward certain music labels.
YouTube Walks Back Restriction
“How long have yall been playing the numbers game to lie & pretend ppl r doing ‘good’ when they r not?!?!!” Minaj continued in another post. “How much ad space did these duds purchase to be promoted on my channel in the last 5 years?!??!!!!”
Later on Monday, YouTube removed the restriction from Minaj’s video, per Variety. The company said the content in it did not violate its rules and guidelines.
While Minaj ended up deleting her Instagram posts calling YouTube out, she made it clear she was still frustrated by the debacle.
“FUCK THEM DUDS,” she tweeted. “THEY CANT GIVE US BACK OUR FIRST 24 HOURS CAN THEY?!?!!!”
As of Monday afternoon, her video had been viewed over one million times.
See what others are saying: (Variety) (The Independent) (Billboard)
“Don’t Worry Darling” Tops the Box Office Amid Bad Press
Audiences are already giving the film higher praise than critics did.
Young Women Flock to “Don’t Worry Darling”
Weeks of controversies and rumors did not prevent “Don’t Worry Darling” from finding victory at the box office, with the Olivia Wilde-directed thriller debuting at number one over the weekend and raking in $19.2 million.
Wilde also acted in the mid-century mystery, which starrs Florence Pugh, Harry Styles, Chris Pine, and Gemma Chan.
Women led ticket sales for the picture, comprising 66% of the audience, according to several reports. At least partially due to the appeal of Styles, crowds also skewed young, with over half under the age of 25.
Overseas, the film made over $10 million, bringing its total for the weekend to $30 million. That number is especially impressive since the R-rated drama had a budget of $35 million.
“Don’t Worry Darling” had been plagued with weeks of rumors about behind-the-scenes drama leading up to its release. Among other bouts of gossip, many online speculated that Pugh and Wilde had riffs on set, leading to Pugh’s refusal to promote the project. One report alleged the two got into a screaming match, but sources on set denied it.
Wilde and Shia LeBeouf, who was originally cast in the picture, also got into a public he-said-she-said about whether he quit the film or was fired.
The drama hit a boiling point during its premiere at the Venice Film Festival when Twitter users circulated a video they claimed showed Styles spiting on Pine, though both parties have denied that allegation.
A Film Riddled With Rumors
Furthering the bad press were the bad reviews. Critics largely panned the film, sticking it with a 38% on Rotten Tomatoes. After this first weekend, moviegoers seem to have a more favorable outlook, as it has a 79% audience score as of Monday.
Jeff Goldstein, the distribution chief for Warner Bros., told the Associated Press that “the background noise” caused by these controversies “had a neutral impact” on its box office haul. The studio released a statement saying it was pleased with the movie’s earnings.
Some analysts believe that, if anything, the online gossip and fodder may have aided the film’s box office performance.
In a tweet recapping the weekend’s box office, Paul Dergarabedian, a senior media analyst at Comscore, said the “drama sparked a huge wave of interest.”