Kings probe ‘racial bias’ claims after rapper E-40 ejected
SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — The Sacramento Kings are investigating allegations from a Bay Area hip-hop star that “racial bias” led to him being kicked out of his seat during a playoff game against the Golden State Warriors.
The rapper E-40 said in a statement that he was heckled throughout the game Saturday night and addressed one heckler “in an assertive but polite manner” before security guards came and ordered him to leave the arena.
“Unfortunately, it was yet another reminder that — despite my success and accolades as a musician and entrepreneur — racial bias remains prevalent,” he said in a statement. “Security saw a disagreement between a Black man and a white woman and immediately assumed that I was at fault.”
The Kings said they are investigating the circumstances behind the ejection.
“The Sacramento Kings take these claims seriously and are investigating the facts and circumstances regarding the situation, as we do anytime an accusation like this is made,” the team said in a statement.
A person familiar with the situation told The Associated Press that E-40, whose real name is Earl Stevens, was standing and blocking the view of fans behind him and was given a warning after several complaints. The person spoke to the AP on condition of anonymity because details of the situation weren’t released publicly.
The person said E-40 refused to comply and that security officials for the Warriors and Kings escorted him from his seat.
A second person familiar situation, also speaking on condition of anonymity, said E-40 was never given a warning by security about “excessive standing.”
E-40 is a prominent Warriors fan and was even part of the delegation that visited the White House earlier this season.
“It’s unfortunate,” Warriors guard Klay Thompson said. “I love 40. He’s been our biggest supporter for years. I hope they right that ship because he deserves to be there by our bench. In my time knowing him, he’s always been respectful. He’s always been considerate of those around him. Very weird to see, and I hope it’s resolved.”
E-40 is known for his collaborations with other artists, including on songs such as “I Don’t (Expletive) With You” with Big Sean, “Snap Yo Fingers” with Lil Jon and Sean Paul of YoungBloodZ, and “U And Dat” with T-Pain and Kandi Girl.