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50 Cent is the stage name of rapper, producer and actor Curtis James Jackson III. Online, he has been involved in a number of controversies, many of which stem from content posted on his Instagram page.
In 1998, Jackson began his rap career with his first appearance on the track "React" by Onyx. In 1999, Jackson released his debut single "How to Rob." In 2002, Jackson received a $1 million record deal from Dr. Dre. On February 6th, 2003, Jackson's debut studio album Get Rich or Die Tryin' was released by Aftermath Entertainment. Over the next 13 years, Jackson released five additional albums, including The Massacre (2005), Curtis (2007), Before I Self Destruct (2009), Animal Ambition (2014) and Street King Immortal (2016).
In December 2008, Jackson created the @50cent Twitter account, which received more than 8.26 million followers within eight years. On February 9th, 2012, Jackson launched the @50cent Instagram feed, gathering upwards of 9.9 million followers over the next five years. In August 2014, Jackson posted an ice bucket challenge video, in which he challenges boxer Floyd Mayweather to read one full page of a Harry Potter book. That month, he posted another video in which he challenged Mayweather to read The Cat in the Hat by Dr. Seuss. Later that month, Jackson posted several other videos directed at Floyd Mayweather (shown below).
In June 2011, an Anonymous operation was launched against Jackson to vote down the music video for his song "Outlaw" on YouTube and leave comments referencing fellow rapper Ja Rule. The goal of the operation was to "make 50 Cent the new Rebecca Black".
On July 3rd, 2012, Twitter user yung_raditz sent American rapper 50 Cent a tweet reading “@50cent Release the album or get shot again”. 50 Cent responded to this tweet by saying, “yeah just saw your picture fool you look autistic”, which was later followed by “I don’t want no special ed kids on my time line follow some body else”. These tweets caused a controversy for various people, resulting in numerous angry replies. Afterwards 50 Cent apologized for the tweets, even noting “…i was in special ed…”.
Feud with Meek Mill
In January 2016, rapper Meek Mill released the track "Gave Em Hope," which contained lyrics that many interpreted were attacking Jackson.
"I got 50 reasons say you're taking dick / And it's 50 reasons I should kill, nigga."
In May 2016, Jackson posted a video to Instagram, in which he is shown filming a young airport employee while accusing him of being high at work (shown below). The video was subsequently deleted, but was reuploaded by YouTuber JahBwoy on May 1st (shown below). The following day, Redditor mindmerciful submitted the video to the /r/videos subreddit in a post titled "50 Cent is an asshole." Within 24 hours, the video gathered upwards of 1.34 million views and the Reddit post received more than 5,900 votes (88% upvoted).
The following day, the news station Fox 19 aired a segment on the incident, identifying the man in the video as Andrew Farrell, an airport janitor with Asperger's syndrome (shown below). The segment was subsequently posted on the /r/videos subreddit, where it gained over 3,100 votes (87% upvoted) and 580 comments.
On May 3rd, TMZ reported that Farrell's family had hired a lawyer to possibly sue Jackson over the video, saying they would "forget the whole thing" if Jackson donated $1 million to their GoFundMe page and apologized in person.
On May 5th, Jackson issued a public apology for his conduct via Twitter and his website, along with a personal letter addressed to Andrew Farrell and his family in complying with their request. According to the brief statement posted on his website ThisIs50.com, Jackson expressed his wish to "turn this misunderstanding into an understanding" and announced that he has donated $100,000 to the autism advocacy group Autism Speaks, while calling on his "fellow musicians, actors, entertainers and all others who may not have fully considered this cause to join together to help in any way they can." In another statement released through New York Post's Page Six, Jackson explained:
"While the incident at the airport resulted from an unfortunate misunderstanding, I am truly sorry for offending the young man. […] It was certainly not my intent to insult him or the disability community, which is a source of great strength in America. I have apologized personally to him and his family."
In response to Jackson's apology, the Farrells also released a statement in which they accepted the rapper's apology:
"As requested we have received a letter apologising for 50 Cent's behaviour and we have chosen to accept it, along with a request that a donation be made to Autism Speaks. Though a letter of apology will not undo what 50 Cent has put our family through, we are choosing to forgive. A great lesson can be learned from this heartbreaking situation. Regardless of the way that another person appears to you, it is never OK to publicly humiliate them via social media."
50 Cent Drive By
Jackson was born on July 6th, 1975 in Queens, New York. At the age of 12, Jackson began selling illicit drugs and purchasing firearms for protection. In 2000, Jackson was shot in the hand, arm, hip, legs, chest and cheek outside his grandmother's house in Queens, New York.