Public Enemy, Flavor Flav Part Ways Over Bernie Sanders Endorsement

'Public Enemy and Public Enemy Radio will be moving forward without Flavor Flav,' the rap group said in a statement.

Flavor Flav attends Republic Records Grammy After Party at 1 Hotel West Hollywood
Tommaso Boddi / Getty Images for Republic Records

'Public Enemy and Public Enemy Radio will be moving forward without Flavor Flav,' the rap group said in a statement.

Rap group Public Enemy has fired longtime member Flavor Flav after a disagreement about whether 2020 Democratic presidential nominee Bernie Sanders can use one of their songs, Rolling Stone reports.

It seems that Public Enemy Radio, the new iteration of the 1980s rap group led by Chuck D (Carlton Douglas Ridenhour), has been tapped to perform at a planned Sanders rally in Los Angeles. However, band member Flavor Flav (William Jonathan Drayton Jr.) took exception to how the Sanders camp was promoting the upcoming rally.

Last week, Flav sent a cease-and-desist letter to the Sanders camp, saying that the candidate was using Flav’s “unauthorized likeness, image, and trademarked clock” to promote the rally, even though Flavor Flav “has not endorsed any political candidate.”

Though originating from his lawyer, Matthew Friedman, Flav himself even contributed to the text, using a pen to hand-write the words “Hey Bernie, don’t do this.”

That was enough to convince Chuck D to send Flav packing.

“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,” said a statement.

Flav’s team, however, claims that any assemblage of performers that doesn’t include Flavor Flav is not Public Enemy.

Public Enemy performs
  Brett Corkill / Wikimedia Commons (GPL)

“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,” said Flav’s letter.

Chuck D, however, insists that he owns the rights to the name Public Enemy and can perform as Public Enemy with whomever he wants.

On Sunday, Chuck D further clarified that Flavor Flav’s dismissal had been a long time coming, and that it wasn’t the Bernie Sanders kerfuffle that got him fired; rather, it was simply the last straw. Chuck D said that he tries to do good work for the community through his music, while Flav simply will not do any free benefit shows.

“If there was a $bag, Flav would’ve been there front & center,” he said.

When it comes to politicians and the music they use, tricky legal and copyright issues are sometimes raised.

As previously reported by The Inquisitr, it’s been a thing for decades for politicians to sometimes use a performer’s music, such as at rallies. Often, that’s done without the performer’s permission, and more often than not, the original performer will make a sink about it and demand that the politician put a stop to it. Country singer Dolly Parton, for example, was clear that she did not authorize Elizabeth Warren to use her (Parton’s) hit song “9 to 5” at her rallies and requested that she stop using it.