Afrika Bambaataa Sued for Child Sex Trafficking From 1991 to 1995

Afrika Bambaataa Sued for Child Sex Trafficking From 1991 to 1995

In 2016, Bronx activist and politician Ronald Savage came forward with allegations that Bambaataa sexually abused him in several times in 1980 when Savage was 15. A lawyer for Bambaataa called the allegations “defamatory” and “false,” and Bambaataa issued a statement saying that he wanted to “personally deny any and all allegations of any type of sexual molestation of anyone.” In the following weeks, three other men accused Bambaataa of sexual abuse, and Bambaata denied the claims.

News of the recent lawsuit was first reported by the Chicago-based publication Metropolis. Leila Wills, publisher of Metropolis, has been interviewing Bambaataa’s alleged victims for a documentary, and videos of the interviews are on YouTube. According to Wills, Doe is not one one of the men from those videos. “The interviews brought a lot more survivors forward,” Wills told Pitchfork. “Survivors that had not been on any public platform. When John Doe and I spoke, we agreed it was important for the service process (serving Bambaataa the lawsuit) to work. If we would’ve come out too soon, Bambaataa could’ve been in the wind.”

The lawsuit also names as a defendant the Zulu Nation, the hip-hop awareness organization that Bambaataa founded in the 1970s. After the allegations in 2016, the Zulu Nation announced a change in leadership and publicly apologized “to the many people who have been hurt by the actions of Afrika Bambaataa and the subsequent poor response of our organization to allegations leveled against him.”

The Zulu Nation said in a statement to Metropolis: “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 executive director of the Nation’s community affairs, Sadiki “Bro. Shep” Olugbala, confirmed the statement’s accuracy and told Pitchfork the group had “nothing else to add.”

Additional reporting by Matthew Strauss.

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