You might have seen earlier today that Flavor Flav, he of Public Enemy fame, landed in a bit of hot water due to being tricked into filming a shoutout video for disgraced cardinal and convicted child sex abuser George Pell. One of those mistakes truly anyone could make, given the right circumstances.
Well, Flav wants to you know that he had no idea. He also wants you to know that Tristan, the guy who booked the shoutout using the Cameo app, is a “dirty fuckin’ rat.”
Though a somewhat circuitous series of events following our publication of the story, Flav obtained my mobile number and gave me a buzz in to clarify for both his Australian fans and also the world at large what exactly had gone down here. An odd call to receive? Yes. But the pursuit of truth often leads you down winding paths.
“I’ve been doing shoutouts on this app called Cameo,” Flav said. “Everyone that books me… I just do the shoutouts. They tell me what to say.”
In the video, Flav performs an improvised rap, before wishing Pell a “happy retirement” and saying, “All of the boys on the choir respected you.”
“So I did this shoutout for this George Pell guy – I didn’t know who the fuck George Pell is, I didn’t know what the fuck he’d done,” he said. “I see I made a serious mistake by doing that shoutout.”
Flav says he received a great deal of feedback on his shoutout overnight, likely thanks to the media coverage. “And then all night… I’m getting a lot of people lashing out at me. My group called me and said, ‘Flav, what the FUCK are you doing, man?’ And I said, ‘I’m just doing shoutouts!’”
“I didn’t know I was shouting out paedophiles!”
The Cameo app offers the ability for anyone to pay a laundry list of celebrities a fee to do a shoutout to their specifications. The stars have the ability to turn down any Cameo requests thrown their way for any reason, and users are only charged after a successful shoutout.
Though many celebrities explicitly specify that they don’t do product or brand endorsements, it seems pretty easy for stuff like this to slip through through the cracks. For example, NFL star Brett Favre was duped into making anti-Semitic remarks by Cameo users last year.
Flav offered both an apology to those offended or hurt by what happened, and also condemnation for the prankster who made it all happen:
I wanna say to Tristan: you’re a dirty rat. You used me and set me up to give a paedophile a shoutout. That was very, very wrong of you. To all of the people George Pell did harm to: I’m sorry about this, because I did not know who he was. I would never support something like that. I hope George Pell gets what he deserves.
Of course, no one blames Flav for this one. He’s the one who got stung. But nonetheless he’s very concerned that this situation would in any way impugn his reputation among Australian fans, who he considers among his most passionate. “Australia is my second home, and I would never, ever betray my home.”
He has one last point he would like you all to know, and I am more than happy to relay it.”Tell ’em Flav can’t wait to get back to Australia – because he misses his Australian family!”