Afrika Bambaataa denies sexual abuse allegations

Fox News 5, New York/May 11, 2016

By Lisa Evers

For weeks allegations of sexual abuse of boys that happened decades ago have been swirling around hip hop legend Afrika Bambaataa. Now for the first time he has addressed these disturbing accusations in an exclusive TV interview with Fox 5. I asked him about the growing number of claims that he sexually abused teen boys.

"I never abused nobody. You know, it just sounds crazy to people to say that, hear 'you abused me,'" Bambaataa said. "You know my thing is you know all my people back then, you know the hundreds of people that been around me. If something like that happened, why you never went to none of them?"

Afrika Bambaataa's 1986 hit "Planet Rock" is considered one of the greatest hip hop songs of all time. He is credited with transforming the violent street gang culture of the late 1970s South Bronx into a positive cultural movement through hip hop and his Zulu Nation organization. He has been a visiting professor at Cornell and is invited to speak around the world.

He told me the accusations came as a shock.

"What is the motivation, what is the agenda?" he said. "It's hard to say. You don't know what many of these people are thinking. What is behind it. Some parts are saying it could be shakeups. Certain things people might have wanted."

Bambaataa's chief accuser, Ronald Savage, is now 50 years old. He claims in 1980 when he was 15 and under the age of consent, playing hooky led to his first sexual experience with the hip hop pioneer and was followed by at least four other abuse incidents.

"I didn't have nowhere to go so I had his number and I called him and he paid for the cab for me to go to his house," Savage said. He claims through therapy he came to understand he was abused and became aware of others.

"I couldn't believe it. I was confused, I was little nervous," Savage said. "I was just wondering, the other guy coming into the room, what was they going to do to me?"

I asked Bambaataa what he would say to Savage.


"The brother knows the people who he came around in my group with, and knows that he wasn't in my presence unless among those people and he needs to go back and speak to those people who were part of our organization and deal with them," Bambaataa said. "And stop all this type of craziness that they been trying to put by attacking me."

He never touched him inappropriately?

"I ain't touched this brother whatsoever," Bambaataa said.

The allegations have set off a social media firestorm and ignited feverish debate.

Since the alleged incidents happened so long ago, no criminal charges can be brought. There have been no settlements or payouts, said Bambaataa attorney Charles Tucker Jr.

Bambaataa emphatically maintained he is not a sexual abuser.

But Savage believes more victims are out there, and that the statute of limitations should be eliminated.

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