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Rapper Desiigner charged with indecent exposure after alleged incident on international flight

Rapper Desiigner smiling with hand under his chin while wearing a fur vest and gold chain.
Desiigner has been charged with misdemeanor indecent exposure after an alleged plane incident.
(Scott Roth / Invision / Associated Press)
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Grammy-nominated rapper Desiigner was charged this week with indecent exposure after an alleged incident during a flight from Japan to Minnesota.

Federal prosecutors charged Desiigner, whose real name is Sidney Royel Selby III, with misdemeanor indecent exposure on an aircraft, accusing the 25-year-old of exposing himself and masturbating in front of female flight attendants during the international flight last week, according to the criminal complaint and affidavit filed Monday and obtained by The Times.

A representative for Selby could not immediately be reached Tuesday.

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The “Panda” performer shared Tuesday on Instagram that he would be entering a mental health care facility. “Going in facility today—thanks for all prayers,” he wrote on his story.

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He had previously addressed the incident last week in a separate Instagram story in which he said, “For the past few months i have not been ok, and i have been struggling to come to terms with what is going on,” according to TMZ.

“While overseas for a concert i performed at, i had to be admitted in to a hospital, i was not thinking clearly,” Selby wrote. “They gave me meds, and i had to hop on a plane home. I am ashamed of my actions that happened on that plane. I landed back to the states, and am admitting my self in a facility to help me.”

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He added that he would be canceling his shows and obligations to focus on his treatment.

Selby was a first-class passenger on an April 17 Delta flight from Tokyo to Minneapolis, according to the affidavit prepared by federal agent Charles Burnham, who interviewed Selby, his security guard and flight crew.

Burnham alleged in the affidavit that Selby exposed himself in front of a female flight attendant, to which she told him “No.” Selby then covered himself up. But later, while the flight attendant and her coworker were servicing the cabin, they saw the artist revealing himself again and this time, he was masturbating, according to court documents.

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Once he was told no again, he covered himself up, the documents said. A lead flight attendant approached Selby and told him he would be arrested.

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Selby is accused of exposing himself a third time to flight attendants, who then told him that what he was doing was a federal crime, court documents said.

This time, Selby apologized and was instructed to move to the back of the plane, where he was monitored by his travel companions, including his security guard, according to documents. After landing, Selby apologized to the flight crew.

Selby was detained by federal authorities in Minneapolis but was let go without any arrest after an interview with Burnham.

During the interview, Selby said that he exposed himself because “she was turning me on,” referring to the first flight attendant and that he “didn’t have anything in like a week,” according to the affidavit.

He then allegedly told the agent that he exposed himself again to the second flight attendant, thinking he was “giving her encouragement to keep pushing ... to keep striving for it.”

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Selby had prescription medications on him from a Bangkok hospital, though the agent noted that the performer did not appear to be impaired and was coherent throughout the interview.

Desiigner is a former Kanye West protégé and signee of West’s Good Music imprint under Def Jam Records, and his big break came with his feature on West’s album “The Life of Pablo.”

At age 18, his single “Panda,” originally released on Soundcloud, shot to the top of the charts and earned a Grammy nomination for rap performance in 2017 and won top rap and streaming songs at the Billboard Music Awards that same year.

He left Def Jam and became independent in 2019, continuing to perform. He also turned to acting, making an appearance in the 2018 heist film “Oceans Eight” and the FX comedy “Dave.” In 2016, Desiigner also faced misdemeanor drug possession and menacing charges stemming from a road rage incident in New York.

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