Hot 97 DJ Mister Cee Talks Resignation: 'My Transgressions Were Affecting the Station'
"It's almost like the Anthony Weiner thing," the DJ told Billboard of the accusations against him. "There are people out there who don't have my interest at heart."
Mister Cee, a 20-year veteran DJ of New York's Hot 97 (WQHT), has resigned from the station after a YouTube video surfaced containing audio of a sexual encounter and financial transaction allegedly involving the on-air personality. Though he denies the allegations, Mister Cee (born Calvin LeBrun) told Billboard it was in his and the station’s best interest for him to resign.
"The main reason why I resigned is because there was a video that was released today that kind of implied that I was making a transaction with a transsexual, which is not true, by the way. If you watch the video, you don’t see my face, you don’t see that person's face. So for me, it was really about stepping down for the sake of the station," Mister Cee said. "It got to the point where my transgressions and my mistakes were affecting the station, whether it was affecting the station’s income, whether it was affecting certain clients that wanted to buy time during my hour and felt like they didn’t want to stand next to the brand because I was on the air at that time. To that point, instead of them telling me, 'We’re gonna have to let you go,' I just felt like the best thing to do was for me to step down because it's obvious that whatever mistakes and transgression I’ve made, whatever’s being put out there is being put out there for the fact that I’m on radio."
A thank-you note to Mister Cee posted today on Hot 97's website.
Alexandra Cameron, Hot 97 SVP/GM, released the following statement on Mister Cee's resignation: “Due to some personal circumstances that have become public, after 20 years of service, Mr Cee has chosen to resign. We feel that this is in the best interest of both HOT 97 and Cee’s personal well-being. While we do not endorse the alleged activities, he is clearly facing a personal dilemma that is for him and only him to comment on. We are saddened by his departure; his contributions here at HOT 97 were great and we know him as a friend, a caring individual and significant hip hop advocate. We wish Mr Cee the best and will always consider him a family member of HOT 97."
Mister Cee is a legendary figure in hip-hop circles having been the DJ for Big Daddy Kane in the late 1980s and early 1990s and having served as an assistant executive producer for Notorious B.I.G.’s classic debut album, “Ready to Die.” His “Old School/Throwback at Noon” segment on Hot 97 became a New York institution with timely dedication mixes and revered guest DJs featured regularly.
The DJ’s public troubles began in 2011 when police caught him allegedly engaged in a sex act with a 20-year-old male in a parked car in lower Manhattan. Cee pled guilty to the lesser charge of loitering for the purpose of engaging in prostitution. In May of this year, he was arrested again in Brooklyn for allegedly soliciting sex from an undercover officer posing as a prostitute. He was charged with patronizing a prostitute in the third degree and subsequently suspended himself from the station. That charge, according to Mister Cee, was later thrown out.
"To me, it’s almost like the Anthony Weiner thing," Mister Cee said. "You step forward, you admit to what you are capable of and what you are doing. I went on the air in May and said, ‘Listen, I love prostitutes and I love strippers, this is my thing, but I am not gay.’ My case got dismissed this Monday, which nobody talked about, wasn’t in the paper, nobody talked about it, nobody leaked that story and then two, three days later, this happened. So once again, it’s like the Anthony Weiner situation whereas something is gonna continue coming up because it’s obvious that there are people out there who don’t have my interest at heart and don’t have Hot 97’s interest at heart."
At the prospect of leaving the influential station, the DJ cited a number of the station's former on-air luminaries: "I was there at Hot 97 on Red Alert’s last day. When Red Alert left Hot 97, people thought that that was unbelievable and why did he leave -- but Red has moved on since then. If a person like Red can do it, why can’t I do it? Some of the great DJs like Marley Marl and Red Alert graced Hot 97 way before me and have continued to be successful in their own right. So I think with the man above blessing, I think I’ll be alright."
Mister Cee also mentioned a number of possible future career scenarios following his exit from Hot 97.
"If the next move is for me to do radio with another station, if that’s what the call is, I’m there. If it’s for me to be behind the scenes and do programming, I’m there. You know, I’m not gonna stop DJing, I’m not gonna stop doing the clubs and there are plenty of very successful DJs that are not on the radio, that’s really doing it and getting a lot of bread around the country. So whatever the calling has for me that is in relevance to me DJ-ing or spinning or music period, I will be there. If the powers that be allow me to be a part of it, I will be a part of it."
WQHT New York is a rhythmic station owned by Emmis Communications. It most recently registered a 3.0 share for Arbitron's August New York City ratings, ranking 14 out of the 36 stations.