Wyclef Jean's claws came out at a New York concert Friday night (Sept. 4), when he used his music to accuse Sean Penn, a critic of the rapper and singer's recently thwarted bid for Haitian presidency, of using cocaine.
During a performance at Hot 97's On Da Reggae Tip concert at Hammerstein Ballroom, Jean sang, "I got a message for Sean Penn: Maybe he ain't see me in Haiti because he was too busy sniffing cocaine." The former Fugees leader inserted the lines into his 2004 political ode, "President."
Video: Wyclef Accuses Sean Penn of Cocaine Use
Penn responded this morning to Jean's claims in a formal statement released by a spokesperson.
"Mr. Jean is clearly unfamiliar with the physical demands put upon volunteers in Haiti," Penn said. "As aid workers there, the notion of depleting the body's immune system thru the use of illicit drugs is ludicrous.
"More specifically, J/P Haitian Relief Organization (a.k.a. JPHRO) has a ZERO tolerance policy for any and all illegal drugs. As the leader of this organization, Sean Penn has not only set this policy, but adheres to it. That Mr. Jean would make such a false accusation is reckless and saddening, but not surprising."
Wyclef also took aim at fellow Haitian and former Fugee member Pras -- who had also opposed his candidacy -- during his performance, singing, "I got a message for Praswell. Even though you don't want to support me, I got love for you...even though you only kicked eight bars in the Fugees."
Previous disagreements between the Haitian-born Wyclef and Penn, who has lived in a tent in the earthquake-ravaged nation and helped lead relief efforts since January, had not been as personal. The actor expressed his concerns for Jean's run for Haitian presidency on "Larry King Live," as well as in a column he penned for the Huffington Post. "These elections are crucial, and I have no part in them," said Penn in the column. "Neither should Mr. Jean."
Wyclef Jean's presidential bid was disqualified by an electoral council on Aug. 19.