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Flavor Flav says Public Enemy hoax is a hoax

By | Published on Thursday 2 April 2020

Public Enemy

Yesterday we argued that if you start setting up an April Fool’s Day gag in late February, it doesn’t meet the strict rules for such a joke. But what if Chuck D’s big April Fool’s prank wasn’t a hoax firing of Flavor Flav from Public Enemy over a month ago, but rather a 1 Apr announcement that there was a hoax, which was, in fact, the actual hoax? Are you keeping up with this? Well, long story short, Flavor Flav says he’s not aware of any hoax.

As mentioned above, this all began in late February when Flavor Flav sent a cease-and-desist letter to Public Enemy Radio – the Flavor-less line up of the group, which has been performing for a number of years. He claimed that, by performing at a Bernie Sanders benefit show, his Public Enemy bandmates were suggesting that he also supported the US presidential hopeful.

Then, a week later, he claimed to have been fired from the main Public Enemy outfit due to his political beliefs, while the group said that he’d been ditched because “he always chose to party over work”.

Skip forward to this week, and on 1 Apr the debut album by Enemy Radio was released – which includes a track listed as “featuring Public Enemy”, because Flav is on it, meaning the full line up of Public Enemy is on the Enemy Radio track. No, I can’t make this any less confusing. This is what happened.

In a statement, Chuck D said that he and Flavor Flav were marking “April ‘FlavChuck’ Day” by bringing the “hoax” to an end with the release of this new track. Flav’s appearance on the Enemy Radio recording confirmed that they were all still friends, and all talk of Flav being sacked was just an elaborate ruse to help promote the new record. So that’s that sorted.

Except, Flav now claims not to be aware of any such ruse. In fact, he thinks that playing April Fool’s pranks during a public health crisis is in poor taste.

“I am not a part of your hoax”, he wrote in a tweet to Chuck D. “There are more serious things in the world right now than April Fool’s jokes and dropping records. The world needs better than this. You say we are leaders so act like one”.

Chuck D has not responded directly to Flavor Flav, but has nevertheless reacted negatively to his “hoax” being called a “joke”. Responding to Consequence Of Sound – which did just that in its headline to a story on all this – he said in a tweet: “Joke is bad word for it. Lesson in a teachable moment [would be better]. April Rules Day, I’m not fkn laughing. Make a better headline”.

To be fair to Consequence Of Sound, it’s hard to come up with a better headline when I’m not sure anyone really knows what’s going on here. In an interview, Chuck D previously said that his maybe hoax was inspired by Orson Welles’ 1938 ‘The War Of The Worlds’ radio broadcast. That had people running into the street in fear because they believed news-style reports of an alien invasion were true. If that was the intended effect, it has not worked.

Flavor Flav is not the only person to suggest that now is not the time for April Fool’s pranks, though. This year, thanks to the COVID-19 outbreak, they were thin on the ground.

A blessing, given that when such pranks occur online, as they now often do, they live long beyond the twelve hour window when they’re supposed to exist, thus confusing people. Plus, when you live in a world already flooded with ‘fake news’, having a half-day to celebrate such things probably isn’t so funny.

But there was still some online April Fools nonsense yesterday. Some of the pranksters – like Chuck D – might argue that they were seeking to distract people from all the COVID-19 stress. But at least one pop star April Fools instigator cannot use that excuse.

K-pop star Kim Jaejoong was forced to apologise after telling fans that he had been hospitalised with COVID-19 due to “ignoring” government warnings and “living carelessly”. He hadn’t. It was an April Fools prank. Jaejoong later claimed that this had been a serious attempt to raise awareness of the dangers of the virus, but fans did not take kindly to the ‘joke’.