Wyclef Jean’s Trouble With The Truth: A Recent History


This weekend, the Internet was abuzz with reports from Wyclef Jean and his people that the ex-Fugee and former Haitian presidential candidate had been shot in the hand while campaigning for fellow performer Michel “Sweet Micky” Martelly in Port-Au-Prince. Well, “grazed” by a bullet. Or was it just a piece of broken glass? According to Jean, the bullet grazed his hand after he stepped out of his car to make a phone call. “I heard blow, blow, blow, and I just looked at my hand,” he said. Haitian officials, however, beg to differ. “We met with the doctor who saw him and he confirmed Wyclef was cut by glass,” reported police chief Vanel Lacroix.

Gunshot, glass–either way, on the eve of an important election for Haiti, the event was inconsequential at best. It was also, however, the latest in a long string of attention-grabbing mis- and half-truths to emerge from Jean’s camp. Have we already forgotten about Yele Haiti? Or his non-existent Creole? Below, a brief history of Wyclef’s casual relationship to the truth.

Exhibit A: Text your dollars straight to Wyclef’s pocket

Some will recall the time Jean’s Haiti relief organization, Yele Haiti, was uncovered as, well, not a Haiti relief organization. After bringing in millions of dollars in a text-based donation campaign, it was revealed that not only was Yele and its one (one!) employee totally unprepared to handle that amount of money with any efficiency or effectiveness, they were also misfiling their taxes and funneling hundreds of thousands of dollars back into Wyclef’s pockets.

Exhibit B: The Hopeful Presidential Campaign That Wasn’t
Luckily, Jean’s attempt at a run for presidency in Haiti, a country seriously in need of help, without any real political background, was cut short by a laundry list of concerns–the most relevant being the fact that Jean didn’t actually live in Haiti, according to the Haitian electoral board that disqualified him as a candidate. (Even before that, however, his own former bandmate, Pras, had concerns. As did Sean Penn.)

Exhibit C: Frilly Shirts, or Something

Then there was that Carnival float–the one Jean rode while sporting a frilly blouse and posing next to a lion–and the $250,000 Wyclef pulled from Yele Haiti’s budget to pay for it all. For charity indeed.

Exhibit D: More Tax Problems

Wyclef didn’t just lie to Haiti and his own charity; he also lied to the IRS, who responded by hitting him with $2.1 million dollars worth of tax liens.

Exhibit E: “Creole Similar To Jackie Chan’s English”

Despite running for president in a country where the majority of the citizens speak the language, it turned out whatever Wyclef was speaking when it wasn’t English, it wasn’t quite Creole either. Or as Pras delicately put, Clef’s Creole “is similar to Jackie Chan’s English — No offense to Jackie Chan.”