UPDATED: Philly street performer Anthony Riley left ‘The Voice’ over ‘medical issues,’ did not send Mumia tweet
Philadelphia native and fan favorite Anthony Riley abruptly left NBC’s "The Voice" this week, with coach Pharrell announcing that he departed due to “personal reasons.” Now, Riley’s legal representation has reached out to Philly.com with more detail.
UPDATE (8:41 p.m.) - Christopher Mapp has reached out to admit to sending the infamous Mumia tweet — and he claims that Riley was, in fact, kicked off The Voice. However, he cannot say why.
"I can claim without a doubt he was kicked off the show," Mapp says. "Disqualified, whatever you want to say, on January 31."
Mapp says he has been Riley's assistant — not manager — since last summer. And, as a result, he has "been in contact with [Riley] through this whole process," meaning The Voice's auditions. So, he says, there is "no way" the Mumia tweet got Riley removed from the show, because it wasn't posted until March 10.
"I did send the tweet," Mapp says. "[Riley] has never tweeted from that account."
All the same, Mapp says he has handed over the social media accounts to Riley and his attorney. He says he shared the Mumia tweet initially because he recorded the attached video.
UPDATE (5:35 p.m.) - Attorney Evan Shingles has identified Anthony Riley's "disgruntled former manager" as one Christopher Mapp. Shingles has sent Mapp a cease and desist letter that demands he "turn over all passwords for each of Anthony's social media accounts to me within 24 hours" of its receipt.
Otherwise, Shingles warns that he will pursue civil litigation and "refer the matter to the Philadelphia District Attorney's Office for identity theft."
The original post continues below:
Philadelphia native and fan favorite Anthony Riley abruptly left NBC's The Voice this week, with coach Pharrell Williams announcing that he departed due to "personal reasons."
Now, Riley's legal representation has reached out to Philly.com with more detail.
"Anthony indicated to me that he has some medical issues that would make it impossible for him to continue on The Voice," says attorney Evan Shingles, who has been authorized to speak on Riley's behalf. "What those are, I don't know."
Shingles, who represented Riley following his arrest in 2007 for belting out some Sam Cooke in Rittenhouse Square, also says that the rumors that began to develop following his client's departure are simply that.
As for the rumor that Riley refused to perform with fellow contestant Mia Z, Shingles says that is "absolutely not" true.
"Anthony is a sweetheart," he added.
The issue of the Mumia Abu-Jamal tweet in which Riley appeared to have expressed support for the controversial political figure is similarly invented. In fact, Shingles says that Riley claims to never have sent that tweet at all — that apparently was the work of a "disgruntled former manager" who took over Riley's Twitter account.
"Anthony is not professing any support for Mumia that I'm aware of," Shingles says. "He's never spoken with me about, and never professed to have, radical politics."
Now, Shingles says that he is pursuing that former manager in order to execute a cease-and-desist order with the hope of regaining control of Riley's social media. But whatever the case with the account, Shingles insists that Riley's departure from The Voice had nothing to do with tweeting.
"His departure had nothing to do with politics or Mumia Abu-Jamal," Shingles says.
The medical issues Shingles mentioned, however, remain somewhat mysterious. Though, Shingles does note that Riley has had "some medical issues" throughout his life. Ultimately, those issues could possibly have been exacerbated by the pressure and stress of Riley performing on The Voice.
"Anthony had a very difficult life and has been on his own for a while," Shingles says. "He's a really sweet guy."
Prior to his departure from the show, Riley received one of the fastest four-chair turns in the history of The Voice. Shingles says Riley is currently in Pittsburgh recording music with a bandmate.