Rapper Bow Wow is in hot water after an allegedly threatening tweet he wrote about "pimping" first lady Melania Trump brought on public criticism and the possibility of felony charges.
On March 15 Bow Wow, whose real name is Shad Moss, tweeted to President Donald Trump to "shut your punk a** up," adding that he and Snoop Dogg would "pimp" Melania Trump and "make her work for us."
The tweet received a lot of media attention, prompting Bow Wow to delete it sometime about March 21, after several outlets pointed out that threatening the first lady is a felony.
Digital Music News reports that U.S. law calls for felony charges against any person who threatens harm against certain specified individuals related to the presidency:
Anyone that knowingly and willfully threatens to kill, kidnap, or inflict bodily harm upon:
(1) a former President or a member of the immediate family of a former President;
(2) a member of the immediate family of the President, the President-elect, the Vice President, or the Vice President-elect;
(3) a major candidate for the office of President or Vice President. Or a member of the immediate family of such candidate; or
(4) a person protected by the Secret Service.
The report adds that the U.S. Department of Justice has addressed "intent" in regard to these kind of threats, noting, "Proof that threatening words were uttered in a context such that a reasonable person would interpret them as mere political hyperbole, idle talk, or jest indicates that the words do not constitute a threat within the scope of the statute." It does note, "It is the view of the Department that an actual intent to carry out a threat is not a requisite to violation of the statute."
Whether the tweet can be interpreted as political hyperbole would likely be up to the DOJ.
Bow Wow's tweet was in response to a tweet from Trump that seemed to be calling for the arrest of rapper Snoop Dogg after he released a controversial music video that depicted a caricature version of the president wearing clown makeup at whom Snoop Dogg aims a gun and pulls the trigger, releasing a small flag that says "Bang."
Snoop also replied to the president's tweet, reports MSN, in a video he posted to Instagram.
"Now they wanna ask me questions and interview me," Snoop told his followers, "But guess what? I've got nothing to say, mate."
The president and first lady have not commented on the tweets from Bow Wow.