In 1970, Yoko Ono (supposedly) broke up the Beatles. In 2020, Bernie Sanders broke up ... Public Enemy? While rap battles are common, this is one of the weirder ones to emerge, with Flavor Flav now kicked out of the iconic group he helped found. Per the New York Daily News, the 60-year-old rapper and reality-TV star wasn't happy to hear that fellow Public Enemy member Chuck D was set to perform at a Sanders rally Sunday in Los Angeles, under the name "Public Enemy Radio." And so Flav (aka William Drayton) sent a cease-and-desist letter directly to Sanders, complaining that his likeness, name, and "trademarked clock" had been used to promote the event without his permission. "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 reads, noting Flav hasn't endorsed any candidate.
"Flav has always delivered his authentic self," it continues. "That authenticity compels him to speak out to ensure voters are not misled and that Public Enemy's music does not become the soundtrack of a fake revolution." At the bottom of the letter, Flav scrawled, "Hey Bernie, don't do this!" Public Enemy's response, delivered in a curt statement Sunday to Rolling Stone: "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." In a statement to Pitchfork, Chuck D, who also tweeted about the tiff, adds that he owns the trademark to Public Enemy. Chuck D has noted that health care and child care are especially important issues to him after his dad died and his granddaughter was born. Meanwhile, Variety notes fans are trying to clear Sanders of all of this, as the two rappers have had a contentious history predating Bernie. (Read more Public Enemy stories.)