Rapper T.I.—real name Clifford Joseph Harris Jr.—and his wife Tameka “Tiny” Harris are potentially facing a criminal investigation after allegations surfaced from 11 women claiming to have been victimised by the couple or members of their inner circle. The accusations were originally brought forward by a former friend of the couple, who began sharing stories of alleged victims to her Instagram account in Jan. 2021, and have since been shared with authorities.
Below, a breakdown of what’s happening in the unfolding case.
A former friend of the couple first accused the two of victimising women, including allegations of drugging, kidnapping and sexual assault
Claims of abuse by the couple were first addressed on social media, when Sabrina Peterson, a former friend of the pair, posted to Instagram with accounts from more than 30 women accusing both T.I and Tiny of sexual intimidation, drugging and kidnapping.
“You PUT A GUN TO MY HEAD IN FRONT OF CHILDREN & I NEVER CALLED THE POLICE ON YOU! But for years you have painted me as the VILLAIN!”, Peterson wrote in the Janaruy 2021 post.
Tiny responded to Peterson’s allegations, writing: “Stop Harassing My Family. You strange. Everybody know you been special (face slicing seminar lady). Please get help but LEAVE US ALONE.”
A New York lawyer sent letters to authorities on behalf of victims
On February 28, Tyrone A. Blackburn reportedly sent letters to authorities in Georgia and California, where the abuses are alleged to have occurred, calling on law enforcement to investigate what he called “eerily similar” claims of assaults that spanned more than a decade, between 2005 and 2017, per the New York Times.
Blackburn claims the couple committed several crimes including “sexual abuse, forced ingestion of illegal narcotics, kidnapping, terroristic threats, and false imprisonment.” He also recounted the story of one woman who claimed to be abused by the couple in 2005. “On several occasions, T.I. forced her to take multiple ecstasy pills,” he said.
The #MeToo Movement, Time’s Up and the National Women’s Law Center are supporting Black survivors of sexual assault
In February 2021, the #MeToo movement, Time’s Up and the National Women’s Law Center put out a letter in support of Black survivors of sexual assault which referenced the alleged victims of Clifford and Tameka Harris.
“The level of violence that has occurred against Black survivors for so long demands stories and headlines that centre them across all media,” it read. “We are carrying the emotional weight of this news and know that we are reliving a collective trauma akin to the exposing of [Bill] Cosby and R Kelly.”
Both T.I. and Tiny have denied the allegations
A lawyer for T.I and Tiny said that the couple “deny in the strongest possible terms these baseless and unjustified allegations.”
“We fully expect that if these claims are thoroughly and fairly investigated, no charges will be forthcoming,” the lawyer, Steve Sadow, said in a statement released on Feb. 28. “These allegations are nothing more than the continuation of a sordid shakedown campaign that began on social media and now attempts to manipulate the press and misuse the justice system.”
T.I. has previously caused controversy, making inappropriate comments about his daughter’s virginity
In November 2019, T.I. sparked controversy after revealing that he takes his teenage daughter to the gynaecologist every year to ensure that her hymen is “still intact”—a procedure wrongly believed to determine whether a woman is a virgin or not.
During the appearance on U.S. podcast Ladies Like Us, the father-of-six was asked if he has openly discussed sex with his 19-year-old daughter, Deyjah Harris, to which he replied: “Yes, not only have we had the conversation—we have yearly trips to the gynaecologist to check her hymen.”