In April 2015, mere months before a self-absorbed real estate heir would declare his presidential candidacy and throw the world off its axis, a man by the name of Nathan Sellers dropped a bombshell on Divorce Court that was so crazy it just might be true.
“This sounds ridiculous… but he accused me of sleeping with the entire Wu-Tang Clan,” Lia Palmquist, his estranged girlfriend, explained to Judge Lynn Toler.
“She gave Wu some Tang,” chimed in Sellers.
Despite Sellers’ lofty claim, Palmquist denied any sexual activity, claiming to the court that she’d met the Wu-Tang Clan following a show, managed to get on their tour bus, and then went back to their hotel room where they all partied—or rather, were “talking about politics”—until 7 a.m. When she returned home in the morning, Sellers, who was living with her at the time, began grilling Palmquist about her whereabouts, and accused her of sleeping with the entire Wu-Tang Clan—a 9-person group comprised of RZA, GZA, Method Man, Raekwon, Ghostface Killah, U-God, Inspectah Deck, Masta Killa and Cappadonna.
“Let me just put on the record that Wu-Tang is nothing but gentlemen,” she told the court. “They treated me highly respectful. I would never cheat on him. I… I don’t know if this is appropriate to say, but I’d never be a ‘busdown’ or a groupie in that type of situation. I kept my lady points together.”
Judge Toler begged to differ, branding Palmquist’s actions “busdown behavior” to hearty laughs from the courtroom audience.
The Divorce Court clip went very viral, amassing tens of millions of views in its first few days online. At the time, Method Man denied the tale, calling it “fake” and the woman an “old-er thot.” And now, speaking to The Daily Beast, several of the other members, including de facto ringleader RZA, are calling BS as well.
“Yeah, that was funny,” says RZA, chuckling. “Her boyfriend’s trying to do a divorce or a separation or some shit, and she supposedly got on a tour bus and fucked all of us. All I know is I ain’t fuck her! When I saw her, I was like, I ain’t been there.”
“I ain’t been there neither,” adds Ghostface Killah, while Masta Killa exclaims, “I never seen it!”
“That’s a fuckin’ lie. Some Judge Judy shit,” offers U-God, shaking his head. The rapper included a sound bite from the viral clip as an outro on the track “Whole World Watchin’” off his recent solo album Venom. “I sampled that on the back of Venom, so it’s on that shit,” he says, smiling. “That’s defamation of character.”
Five members of the Wu-Tang Clan sat down with me at the Sundance Film Festival, where a sprawling new documentary on the group, Wu-Tang Clan: Of Mics and Men, made its premiere. The four-part series, which will be released on Showtime this spring, comes via music journalist turned director Sacha Jenkins (Fresh Dressed), and chronicles the Staten Island-based rap collective’s rise from drug-dealing to music greatness.
While the Wu can’t take credit for Sellers’ story, they do feel that the new MTV reality series Made in Staten Island owes them a debt of gratitude for putting the Shaolin—as they coined it—on the map.
“It even has a TV show now,” RZA says of the Shaolin. “You wouldn’t even be interested in [Made in Staten Island] if Wu-Tang didn’t make Staten Island become a worldwide location.”
Read the rest of The Daily Beast’s interview with the Wu-Tang Clan, including how they were hunted by the FBI, in the coming week.