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Afrika Bambaataa sued over sexual abuse allegations

By | Published on Friday 10 September 2021

Afrika Bambaataa

Afrika Bambaataa has been sued by a man who claims that he was sexually abused by the hip hop artist and activist in the early 1990s, beginning when the alleged victim was just twelve years old.

According to Metropolis, the new lawsuit claims that Bambaataa “repeatedly sexually abused and sex trafficked” the unnamed plaintiff between 1991 and 1995. Both the plaintiff and Bambaataa – in his early 30s at the time – lived in the Bronx.

The legal filing claims that, after knowing the plaintiff for a time, Bambaataa started to “inappropriately touch [the boy] in his private areas”. He then began to “encourage [the boy] to watch pornographic videos” which “progressed to mutual masturbation … and sodomy”. Subsequently, Bambaataa would take the plaintiff to other locations and allow other men to sexually abuse the boy.

These experiences, the lawsuit adds, resulted in “physical injury, severe and permanent emotional distress, mental anguish, depression and embarrassment” for the plaintiff, leaving him “unable to keep a steady job”.

It’s not the first time Bambaataa has been accused of sexually abusing boys. New York-based politician and activist Ronald Savage has also claimed that he was sexually assaulted by Bambaataa in his early teens in the late 1970s.

In 2016, after Savage spoke about those allegations, Universal Zulu Nation – the hip hop awareness organisation created by Bambaataa in the 1970s – initially defended its founder, and said that Savage was an aggrieved former member of the group with an axe to grind.

However, after three more accusers came forward, Bambaataa stood down as head of Universal Zulu Nation and the organisation issued a statement apologising to its founder’s alleged victims.

It said: “On behalf of the members of the Universal Zulu Nation worldwide, who have made their voices heard through their chapter leaders, we extend our deepest and most sincere apologies to the many people who have been hurt by the actions of Afrika Bambaataa and the subsequent poor response of our organisation to allegations levelled against him”.

Zulu Nation is named as a defendant in the new litigation, although it has insisted that this is a matter for Bambaataa personally. In a statement to Metropolis it said: “Nothing has changed since 2016 when these decades ago accusations first surfaced. This is a personal matter for Afrika Bambaataa and his lawyers to deal with”.

The unnamed accuser who has filed the new lawsuit has utilised the recent lifting of the statute of limitations in New York state regarding allegations of childhood sexual abuse. The state’s 2019 Child Victims Act meant that alleged victims of such abuse dating back as far as the 1960s had an opportunity to file litigation against their abusers.

For his part, Bambaataa is yet to respond to the lawsuit, but has previously denied the other allegations of abuse.