Flavor Flav Threatens Legal Action After Bernie Sanders Suggests Public Enemy Is Supporting His Campaign

Tommaso BoddiGetty Images

Flavor Flav is not down with Bernie Sanders, and he’s threatening legal action to make sure the world knows it.

The legendary rapper and hype man filed a cease-and-desist letter to the Vermont senator’s campaign after they had announced that the rap group Public Enemy was headlining a campaign event on Saturday. Flavor Flav, whose real name is William Drayton Jr., wanted the Sanders campaign to clarify that it is actually Public Enemy frontman Chuck D performing — not the group itself.

“To be clear Flav and, by extension, the Hall of Fame hip hop act Public Enemy with which his likeness and name have become synonymous has not endorsed any political candidate in this election cycle and any suggestion to the contrary is plainly untrue,” noted the letter from attorney Matthew H. Friedman, obtained by Fox News.

The letter added that claiming Public Enemy is performing at the event has created a “misleading narrative” that the entire group was supporting the Sanders campaign. Promotional material for the campaign rally in Los Angeles claimed that there would be a special performance from Public Enemy Radio.

The letter from Flavor Flav’s lawyer said the claim threatened the unity of the legendary rap group.

“Sanders claims to represent everyman not the man yet his grossly irresponsible handling of Chuck’s endorsement threatens to divide Public Enemy and, in so doing, forever silence one of our nation’s loudest and most enduring voices for social change,” the letter continues.

The letter was sent amid a rift between Flavor Flav and Chuck D. In the wake of Flavor Flav’s cease and desist letter, Chuck D issued a statement to HipHopDX noting that Chuck has the legal right to perform as Public Enemy since he is the sole owner of the group’s trademark and created its logo himself in the 1980s. The statement also noted that Chuck D was the creative leader of the group, even writing many of Flavor Flav’s notable songs.

It is not uncommon for bands and musicians to distance themselves from campaigns who wish to use their songs. Donald Trump’s campaign has been hit with a number of demands from musical groups asking that he stop using their music in promotional material and at rallies. During the 2016 campaign, at least nine different musicians and groups asked his campaign to stop using their songs, and his 2020 reelection campaign has also gotten letters from Rihanna, Axl Rose, and Pharrell, the latter of whom took issue with Trump using his song “Happy.”

Pharrell sent a cease-and-desist letter to the Trump campaign after they used the song on the same day as a shooting at a Pittsburgh synagogue that claimed 11 lives, saying that it was inappropriate.