"There is no Public Enemy without Flavor Flav," the artist said in a statement

By Benjamin VanHoose
March 02, 2020 09:55 AM
Chuck D and Flavor Flav of Public Enemy
Chuck D and Flavor Flav
| Credit: Rebecca Sapp/WireImage

Flavor Flav has been ousted from the group he co-founded 35 years ago.

On Sunday, Public Enemy announced that it would no longer count the 60-year-old rapper and reality TV personality as part of the group. Public Enemy — known for songs like “Fight the Power” and “Don’t Believe the Hype” — was formed in 1985 and still features one other original member, Chuck D.

“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,” read a statement from the group, according to Rolling Stone.

A rep for Flavor Flav did not immediately respond to PEOPLE’s request for comment.

In a statement to USA Today given by his lawyer, Flav, born William Jonathan Drayton Jr., said “there is no Public Enemy without Flavor Flav.”

“Flav reached out in the interest of unity, supporting Chuck’s right to speak his mind but without unnecessarily misleading the public. Unfortunately, for the time being, Chuck has opted to fire off an increasingly unhinged series of tweets …” read the statement. “Chuck may own the name Public Enemy but all you had to do was look at the masses of clock-wearing fans pouring out of the rally … to know that there is no Public Enemy without Flavor Flav.”

Chuck D and Flavor Flav of Public Enemy
Flavor Flav and Chuck D, 2014
| Credit: Jeff Kravitz/FilmMagic

News of the musical breakup comes after Flav sent a cease and desist letter to Bernie Sanders concerning a rally that Chuck D, 59, was set to appear at over the weekend.

In the letter, Flav clarified that he didn’t endorse any candidate, though marketing for the event made it look as if the whole group was cosigning.

“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 stated, according to NBC News.

“Hey Bernie, don’t do this,” Flav said in a handwritten note at the end of the letter.

After making his appearance at the Sanders rally on Sunday, Chuck D wrote on Twitter: “If there was a $bag, Flav would’ve been there front & center. He will NOT do free benefit shows.” Chuck D also tweeted that his “last straw was long ago.”

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Flavor Flav
Credit: John Shearer/Getty Images

The hip-hop group was inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 2013, at which time singer Harry Belafonte called them “radical, revolutionary change agents.”

According to USA Today, Flav added in a statement that the group he helped create “wasn’t a dictatorship it was a movement based on the way we lived in our neighborhood and what we faced in our community.”

“We faced poverty and violence and we were ignored by our government and the media — all we were left with was family,” said Flav. “I don’t want our family and our movement broken up.”

He added: “I hope that Public Enemy can get back to doing the good works we have done for 30 years … not for money but for people like me who have been denied their rights to participate because of … policies.”