Afrika Bambaataa, the pioneering hip-hop DJ, rapper and producer, has been sued over alleged child sexual abuse.
An anonymous man, named John Doe in the lawsuit filed in a New York court, alleges that Bambaataa sexually abused him for four years from the age of 12, in the early 1990s. He claims Bambaataa “repeatedly sexually abused” him and took him to locations where he says he was abused by other adult men.
He is suing Bambaataa over allegations including assault and gross negligence, claiming he experienced “physical injury, severe and permanent emotional distress, mental anguish, depression and embarrassment”. He is calling for compensatory damages, and a jury trial.
Bambaataa, born Lance Taylor, has not responded to the lawsuit but when facing other allegations of abuse in 2016, told a TV interviewer: “I never abused nobody.” He also said in a statement that year that he rejected “any and all allegations of any type of sexual molestation of anyone.” The Guardian has contacted his record label for comment on the new allegation.
Bambaataa stood down from his organisation, the Universal Zulu Nation, following the 2016 allegations. The organisation is named as a defendant in Doe’s lawsuit and is subject of numerous claims including “providing [Bambaataa] with access to children”.
Addressing the new allegation, representatives of Universal Zulu said in a statement: “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.” Doe’s allegations differ from those made in 2016 by Ronald Savage.
Bambaataa is regarded as one of the forefathers of hip-hop, with his Kraftwerk-sampling 1982 electro track Planet Rock a foundation for the genre as it grew in New York City.
The allegations against him have been made following a 2019 change in New York state law. The Child Victims Act allowed a window of time for allegations of sexual assault against children to be filed even if the alleged conduct had taken place earlier than is usually allowable by law.
It is the same law change used by a woman who alleges that Bob Dylan sexually abused her as a 12-year-old in 1965, which he denies.