Twenty-one-year-old Brooklyn-based rapper 6ix9ine (a.k.a. Teka$hi 6ix9ine a.k.a. Tekashi69) is one of 2017's breakout stars in music. With not so much as an album to his name, he has a million followers on Instagram. He’s the recipient of fawning press. He has two singles on the Billboard Hot 100, including the brash “Gummo,” which leapt from No. 54 to No. 13 this week. And, like a few young rappers on the rise, 6ix9ine has been accused of a horrific sexual crime. What’s more, he admitted to it in a court of law.
According to the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office, 6ix9ine, whose real name is Daniel Hernandez, pleaded guilty to the use of a child in a sexual performance on October 20, 2015. The exact terms of that charge are as follows:
A person is guilty of the use of a child in a sexual performance if knowing the character and content thereof he employs, authorizes or induces a child less than seventeen years of age to engage in a sexual performance or being a parent, legal guardian or custodian of such child, he consents to the participation by such child in a sexual performance.
Rumblings of the incident were made public earlier this year via beefs with fellow rappers Zillakami and Trippie Redd, who started mentioning his case on social media. “I’m sorry brozay, 1400 don’t promote pedophiles,” said Redd in a now-deleted Instagram video, according to Mass Appeal.
In November, the website Genius reported it had obtained documents confirming that 6ix9ine pleaded guilty to the felony count. The site, however, declined to report details of 6ix9ine’s case “both to protect our source and the privacy of the victim.” This set the stage for 6ix9ine to tell his own version of what transpired that night in an interview on the YouTube channel of DJ Akademiks that was posted November 18 of this year.
You can watch 6ix9ine’s version of events in the 22-minute video above. In it, he says the events his charges refer to occurred “three to four years ago.” Not quite. The criminal complaint, which Jezebel obtained from the Clerk’s Office at 111 Centre Street, states that this happened the night of February 21, 2015, continuing into February 22.
6ix9ine told Akademiks that he was invited to an apartment in Harlem, a detail also stated in the complaint. He says there he met some “grown” men who asked him to invite over a woman; when he declined, they called upon a girl “from last night” to come over. 6ix9ine describes her affect as “buggin’,” and says eventually “shit got crazy” and a camera was produced to record what ensued. He says he “personally” uploaded the resulting video.
According to the criminal complaint against 6ix9ine, three videos from that night were uploaded to social media. The complaint was filed after the victim’s mother saw them “on or about” February 23, 2015. (Note that the relationship between the victim and the person who alerted the police of the videos is redacted in the documents we received at the County Clerk; a digital copy of the complaint provided by the District Attorney’s office does not redact this relationship.) Detective Maureen Sheehan writes that she was informed that the victim was 13 years old at the time. To Akademiks, 6ix9ine claimed, “I don’t know her exact age, I think she was 14 or some shit like that.” Later, in the interview, when recounting his interrogation, he recalled without hesitation something the police told him: “They were like, ‘Yo, you know the girl was 13 right?’” In the Akademiks interview, 6ix9ine claimed she told him she was 19; in his statement taken March 5, 2015 at the address of 221 E. 123rd St. (NYPD PSA 5), 6ix9ine said, “When she came in she asked me how old I was and I told her I was 18 and I assumed she was older. The way she was asking made me think she was older.”
In the Akademiks interview, 6ix9ine repeatedly underscored his own youth by claiming to be 17 at the time of the crime and referring to himself alternately as “a baby,” “a kid,” and “17 years young.” 6ix9ine’s statement and the complaint filed against him list his birthday as May 8, 1996 (his Wikipedia and other sources list it as May 18, 1996). Nexis lists a Daniel Hernandez in Bushwick who was born in May 1996 without a specific date. That would mean that 6ix9ine was 18 on February 21, 2015, as he admits in the quoted portion of his statement included in the preceding paragraph.
As to the contents of the video in question, 6ix9ine told Akademiks, “I’m not touching the girl, I’m not having sexual intercourse with the girl, I’m not doing nothing, she just nude in some type of way.” The complaint states that in one video, “the child is sitting on the lap of the defendant [Hernandez] and the defendant has his arms around the child. The child is wearing a light colored bra and dark colored underwear and separately charged defendant [Taquan] Anderson pours a cup of liquid on the child’s breasts and grabs the child’s breasts with his hands.” Later in the interview, 6ix9ine claimed again, “I didn’t touch the girl.”
6ix9ine told Akademiks that “months later” after the incident, he was contacted by police. The New York State Unified Court System’s online database says he was arrested March 5, 2015, which is also the date on his statement.
6ix9ine said to Akademiks that an unspecified “they” at his grand jury hearing said, “There’s no rape. No one got raped. No one, like no one.” The complaint describes another video containing footage, in which “the child engages in oral sexual intercourse with the separately charged defendant Taquan Anderson, while the defendant, Daniel Hernandez, stands behind the child making a thrusting motion with his pelvis and smacking her on her buttocks. The child is nude in the video.” (See update at the bottom of this post for further information.)
In his interview with Akademiks, 6ix9ine said, “When I saw Genius post the story, I thought they was gonna say all the details of the case, like, ‘He was just there, he was just talking into the camera, he didn’t touch the girl, no sexual performance with the camera… I didn’t rape nobody, bro, the girl wasn’t even raped.”
“So, no one had sex with the girl?” asked Akademiks.
“No one had sex with the girl, word,” replied 6ix9ine.
“You didn’t have any kind of sexual contact…” started Akademiks.
“I didn’t have no sexual contact with the girl…but I was in the video,” said 6ix9ine.
The third video listed in the complaint is written up as follows: “In the third video, the child is completely nude and is sitting across the laps of the defendant and the separately charged defendant Taquan Anderson. The separately charged defendant touches the child across her legs and vagina with his hand. The same three individuals are observed in all three videos.”
In his Akademiks interview, 6ix9ine repeatedly admitted to uploading a video. In his initial statement to police, referring to the video, 6ix9ine stated, “I was doing it for my image.” Earlier in his statement, he asserted, “The SCUMBAG persona is just for shock value. It started when I started making clothing with the words ‘HIV’ and ‘pussy’ on it. They got famous and went viral. Bam. Because ‘pussy’ and ‘HIV’ worked, the SCUMBAG69 hashtag would have the same shock value.”
To Akademiks, 6ix9ine said he declined to fill in the details of February 22 in previous interviews because, “It was so, ‘Yo, Teka$hi, rape, rape, rape, rape.’ That once I said something, a little thing that happened, they were like, ‘Yo, shut up, rapist.’ It was so much pressure on me... The hate was so overwhelming.” He added, “I didn’t have the right platform, I didn’t have the right resources to break it down.” He said that “all” of the accusations are false, and that, “I was charged with a charge simply because I was there.”
After listing the contents of the videos described above, the criminal complaint ends with Detective Maureen Sheehan reporting that 6ix9ine “stated in substance to me”:
THAT IS ME ON ALL THE VIDEOS. THIS HAPPENED IN HARLEM ON THE NIGHT OF FEBRUARY 21, 2015 GOING INTO THE MORNING OF FEBRUARY 22, 2015. I WAS TAGGED ON INSTAGRAM AND THEN I REPOSTED THE VIDEOS USING THE REPOST WHIZ APP. MY INSTAGRAM NAME IS TEKASHIIII69.
6ix9ine is prone to pointing out repeatedly, despite entering a guilty plea to a felony, that he is a free man. He says this as if to exonerate himself from the accusations. “I just want people to use logic, and use your brain,” he said in a video that was uploaded to YouTube August 9, 2017. “If there’s pictures, screenshots, videos whatever there is out there of Teka$hi69 raping someone, why is Teka$hi69 not in jail?”
The answer is in his plea agreement. The document, dated October 20, 2015, states that his sentencing was to be adjourned for two years until October 20, 2017. (It has since been adjourned further and as of now is scheduled for January 30, 2018, according to multiple people who assisted me in multiple clerks’ offices in Manhattan.)
The further terms of 6ix9ine’s plea are as follows:
- One year of interim probation.
- He was ordered not to post/re-post sexually explicit or violent images featuring women/children to social media.
- Two years of mental health treatment with regular updates to the court on his progress.
- Three hundred hours of community service through the New York City Parks Department.
- He was ordered to obtain his GED.
- He was ordered to write a letter to the complaining witness and her family articulating why his participation in the videos was harmful to her and her family, and why publishing the videos caused additional harm. (When he discussed said letter with Akademiks, 6ix9ine did not mention it was part of his plea agreement. “Yo, when I found out the girl’s age, bro, gangsta, I wrote a letter of apology to her, her family... that shit hurt my heart,” he said. In his second statement to police the night of March 5, 2015, though, he said, “I really want to apologize to her and her mom.”)
- He was ordered not to commit another crime for two years.
Should he have these conditions completed by the time of sentencing, he will receive three years probation (technically four but with a one-year credit from the interim probation he served). If not, he faces one to three years in prison.
Additionally, the agreement states, “If the defendant completes each of the above conditions successfully and commits no new crimes prior to the sentencing date, the People will not oppose a Youthful Offender adjudication. As a result, the defendant will not be required to register as a sex offender.”
Taquan Anderson, the separately charged defendant named in the complaint filed against 6ix9ine, pleaded guilty to possessing a sexual performance by a child on February 9, 2016, according to a spokesman at the Manhattan District Attorney’s office. He is currently in custody in the Cape Vincent Correctional Facility in Cape Vincent, New York, according to the Department of Corrections and Community Supervision’s online database, on that charge as well as one of criminal possession of a controlled substance. He is eligible for parole February 24, 2018.
We have attempted to reach out to 6ix9ine’s management for comment. Various online sources say his current record label is EG Entertainment, which is run by Eliot Grainge. Grainge’s company used to be called Strainge Entertainment, but in October was renamed. No website seems to exist for Grainge’s EG Entertainment, but Jezebel did contact some employees from Strainge with our request, as well as 6ix9ine’s supposed booking agent. We have additionally messaged 6ix9ine on Instagram. We will update this post if and when we hear back.
The “Weinstein effect” reckoning underway in our culture may be shaking up Hollywood, but it seems to have little bearing on the music industry thus far. The worst of its men may have reputations, but they haven’t seen consequences imposed on them by the actual industry unlike, say, figures in film. In fact, many of them are still actively profiting.
Dr. Luke was dumped as the CEO of Kemosabe Records, but he may have made money off of the latest album by Kesha, who accused him of rape, among other abuses. Kesha’s civil suit against Dr. Luke is ongoing. Rapper Kodak Black was charged with criminal sexual misconduct in 2016; in 2017, he saw two of his releases (an album and a mixtape) debut in the Top 3 of the Billboard 200. Florence County, S.C., prosecutor Ed Clements, said in October that Black has been indicted and awaits trial. Rapper XXXtentacion was arrested for false imprisonment, witness tampering, and aggravated battery of his pregnant girlfriend in 2016; in September of this year, Pitchfork released the horrifying details of said woman’s testimony (“XXXTentacion left the room and returned with two grilling implements—a ‘barbecue pitchfork’ and a ‘barbecue cleaner,’ she said—and told her to pick between them, because he was going to put one of them in her vagina”). In October of this year, Capitol signed XXXtentacion to a record deal that is reportedly worth $6 million. The next court hearing in XXXTentacion’s case is scheduled for Friday, December 15. He has pleaded not guilty. Beloved R&B singer Miguel was accused of sexual assault about nine months ago, and even though he flat-out refused to deny it when questioned by a paparazzo days after the allegation broke, he emerged unscathed—his song “Sky Walker” hit Top 40 this week in the U.S., and nearly every recent profile has overlooked the allegation. Though a police report was filed, Miguel has, as of this writing, not been charged.
In the time between R. Kelly’s accusations of making child pornography (on which he was acquitted) and now, he has been nominated for multiple Grammy Awards, sold millions of albums, and scored countless hits, including his arguable signature song, “Ignition.” He reportedly married Aaliyah, then 15, in 1994, between his first and second solo albums. That information was made public in Vibe soon after.
Accolades like those of R. Kelly, and many of his peers accused of similar violations, carry particular significance in understanding why we have overlooked predatory behavior for “genius.” But drawing a line on their success and firing them after lengthy, prominent careers is only one tier of this reckoning. It is crucial for music fans to understand exactly who and what behavior they are supporting with their time and money, and to ask themselves just how much they’re willing to excuse for the sake of entertainment.
Update (October 26, 2018, 8:25 p.m.): More information about one of the videos for which 6ix9ine was convicted of a sex crime was revealed at his sentencing. Assistant District Attorney Sara Weiss told the court about a video in which 6ix9ine is seen fondling the breasts and smacking the butt of a 13-year-old who was being penetrated by two adult males at the same time—orally and vaginally. Weiss quoted 6ix9ine as saying in the video, “This is what we do, this is how we rock.