Public Enemy fired Flavor Flav, the band announced Sunday, after the rapper had sent a cease and desist letter to Sen. Bernie Sanders in response to an announcement that group co-founder Chuck D planned to perform under the group's name at a rally for the presidential candidate.
"Public Enemy and Public Enemy Radio will be moving forward without Flavor Flav," said a statement obtained by NBC News. "We thank him for his years of service and wish him well."
The statement said that Public Enemy Radio, a Public Enemy offshoot led by Chuck D and featuring DJ Lord, Jahi and the S1Ws would go on with their plan to perform at Sanders' 6 p.m. rally at the Los Angeles Convention Center. The rally and show were livestreamed on Sanders' website next to donation option buttons.
On Friday, Flav's lawyer sent a letter to the Sanders campaign alleging that the performance at the political rally would use Flav's "unauthorized likeness" and "image" for promotion purposes.
"While Chuck is certainly free to express his political view as he sees fit — his voice alone does not speak for Public Enemy. The planned performance will only be Chuck D of Public Enemy, it will not be a performance by Public Enemy. Those who truly know what Public Enemy stands for know what time it is, there is no Public Enemy without Flavor Flav," the letter read.
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Public Enemy kicked out Flavor Flav.....
over Bernie Sanders?
This is PEAK 2020.— Stefan Grant | Realtor 🚀🏁 (@STEFisDOPE) March 2, 2020
Flav added a personal note at the bottom of the letter that said: "Hey Bernie, don't do this," along with a drawing of his signature clock.
Flav and Chuck D in the early '80s were two founding members of the group, known for its politically-charged lyrics and messaging.
Chuck D ripped into Flav on Sunday saying, "It’s not about BERNIE with Flav... he don’t know the difference between BarrySanders or BernieSanders." Some Garth Brooks fans mixed up the football player and presidential candidate last week.
Chuck D said he's thrown his support behind Sanders because his "dad passing in 2016 and Granddaughter being born automatically put healthcare and childcare at the top of my brain."
If you had Flavor Flav getting booted from Public Enemy in a spat over performing at a Bernie Sanders rally on your Super Tuesday bingo card, please step forward.https://t.co/d1fwpTfnkP— Jamie Dupree (@jamiedupree) March 2, 2020
Later Sunday, Chuck D continued to criticize Flav, explicitly on Twitter and more subtly on Instagram.
"It’s no longer tolerable to just pontificate and not do s--t. People gotta realize, whoever they vote for isn’t going to be Jesus," Chuck D wrote in an Instagram post.
"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," Chuck D wrote on Twitter after the rally Sunday.
In a 2017 lawsuit, Flav accused Chuck D and two of his business of withholding Public Enemy royalties a merchandising revenue from him. It's unclear if Flav has more recently filed a second suit against Chuck D.
Flavor Flav has not publicly acknowledged his letter or dismissal from the group and did not immediately respond to a request for comment. Chuck D also did not immediately respond to a request for further comment.Elisha Fieldstadt
Elisha Fieldstadt is a breaking news reporter for NBC News.