‘Complex’ explains why Wale’s threats were made public


Maybach Music Group rapper Wale is at the center of controversy after audio was released last week of the emotional rapper threatening to physically harm members of the staff at Complex magazine. While many have criticized the publication for releasing the audio, Complex senior editor Rob Kenner explained why they felt it was necessary.

“The decision to publish Wale’s irate phone call to a Complex Media editor last week was not made lightly,” Kenner writes. “In the 24 hours following the D.C. rapper’s Wednesday afternoon rant multiple meetings took place during which serious debate ensued amongst Complex’s music department and senior staff. Some felt that we should work to resolve the dispute behind the scenes. Leaving aside the particulars of which lists he made and which lists he missed this year, Wale is an important artist with a loyal following and — despite his mistaken belief that Complex editors harbor some sort of grudge against him — we recognize the value in maintaining a healthy working relationship with him and the rest of his MMG affiliates.

“Others, myself included, maintained that any time anyone threatens violence against any member of our staff, that threat must be taken seriously and addressed,” Kenner continues. “Our intention was not to retaliate or sensationalize but simply to document a credible threat against not just one reporter but our entire team — from accounting to ad sales, IT, HR, even college interns. Moreover, from a journalistic point of view, this was a legitimate story: a public figure making threats against anyone, let alone a major media company, and as such, it is news.

“It was argued that publishing the call might exacerbate the situation,” Kenner adds. “So Complex senior staff finally settled on a fair and sensible course of action: reaching out to Wale’s label and management and offering him the chance to clarify his remarks in hopes of having, as Complex news correspondent Jinx put it, ‘a more constructive conversation.’ Complex’s offer was declined, leaving us no recourse but to post the audio.”

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