Hip hop legend RZA has publicly addressed the scandalous fall-out between Azealia Banks and Russell Crowe for the first time.
The Wu-Tang Clan star broke his silence on the matter in a lengthy Facebook post on Thursday (20Oct16), dismissing Banks' claims she was the victim of the Gladiator star's unprovoked violent and racist attack at a party he threw at the Beverly Hills Hotel last weekend (15-16Oct16).
RZA, real name Robert Diggs, writes: "Normally I don't respond to negative social media attacks towards me. Yet in this case of Azealia Banks I'm compelled to respond. Firstly I only wish the best for her and any struggling artist in this complex industry. Azealia was brought to my attention while I was casting my next Film Coco. I heard the rumors of her problems in the industry but disregarded them with the rationality everyone is innocent until proven guilty."
RZA went on to explain Azealia was a hit in his movie because she "delivered" exactly what he needed from her, but although their professional relationship on set was good, he "had no real experience of her social behavior" outside of a few minutes they spent together at a wrap party.
According to the Wu-Tang producer, Azealia reached out to him several times after the film shoot concluded asking him for professional and financial help and he even tried to broker a record deal for her, but she falsely announced a contract had been sealed before any agreement was signed.
"I called her and told her a deal was in the workings," he recalled. "She immediately, prematurely went to social media and claimed she signed a deal with RZA Yet no deal was signed. I didn't respond or comment to her post because I'm not the type to stop the hustle. I actually wanted her to win."
RZA claims he then invited her to join him at a bash held by Crowe in his Beverly Hills Hotel room last weekend, but things didn't go as planned.
"Before the night is over Azealia is insulting half the room she becomes loud and obnoxious," he recounts. "There was nothing funny about her behavior. I felt a little embarrassed because she was my guest. Still verbal abuse can be tolerated but when it goes physical...
"Azealia threaten (sic) to cut a girl in the face with a glass, then actually grabs a glass and physically attacks for no logical reason. Russell blocked the attack and expelled her from the suite. Seeing is believing and I saw her behave as an obnoxious erratic individual and in the circles I frequent this was unprecedented. I was totally puzzles (sic) by her and thought maybe meds or booze or something had her zoned out."
Banks has filed a police report against Crowe, accusing him of calling her a n**ger and spitting on her, but RZA has a totally different account of what went down.
"THIS IS NOT A RACE OR GENDER ISSUE," the 47-year-old declared. "I did not hear Russell call her a N::gg:::: I'm not trying to protect Russell from anything he is a man of his own Caliber. My art, talent and success speaks for itself and Azealia's recent slander of me and self victimization reflects the personality of the person that was in that room that night."
Banks has repeatedly demanded an apology from Crowe regarding the alleged altercation, but the actor has ignored her requests.