In November of last year, a man named Masin Elijè made some extreme allegations against NBA star Dwight Howard. He claimed they were boyfriends, that Howard was into transgender sex parties and that Howard and his pastor conspired to kill him because he refused to sign a non-disclosure agreement. Elijè filed a lawsuit and Howard countersued, claiming everything Elijè, whose real name is is Maurice Singletary, was lying.
Now Howard is speaking out for the first time about the rumors and his answer may surprise you.
Speaking to Fox Sports 1’s Kristine Leahy, Howard said, “I went through a situation last year that really just set me free. It ended up being a situation that was—it went viral. People were talking about it, and it upset me because I didn’t even know who the person was. Why would somebody who I never met, never had any contact with, make up a whole story about me? I saw all the hate, the pure hate, from people that I’ve never met before, just pile up everywhere I went.”
He continued, “I think that liberated me. Because I saw how a lot of people would feel, whether they’re gay or they’re straight. Whether they have issues. People are afraid to be who they are. They’re afraid to just step out and be. Because they’re afraid of what other people might say or think about them. That situation made me realize you’re not like this, but just be you, be free.”
Howard added, “I’m not gay.” But he explained the situation gave him empathy, “It’s a lot of people who are and they have to hide, and there’s people who have mental issues and they have to hide. There’s people who have different problems in life and they have to hide. They have to put on the mask every day, and it’s like, I don’t wanna wear no mask, I just wanna be.”
In April, Bossip exclusively reported that Howard sued the YouTube personality for libel, slander, invasion of privacy and abusive litigation, according to court docs.
Howard is asking for $10 million in damages.
“I don’t know this person, never seen him. Any allegation said about me is false,” Howard told TMZ back in March. He also called the lawsuit a “money grab.”
In November, Elijè posted a series of incendiary tweets, beginning with one that said his “life was threatened after I was sexually harassed, threatened and manipulated, by someone I respected, my ex boyfriend NBA player Dwight Howard, and his camp also ‘catfished’ by his disrespectful ass PASTOR.”
The lengthy thread of tweets included purported audio proof of a conversation with Howard about him acknowledging a sexual relationship with Elijè. He claims they met at a “Wild’n Out” party.
And while a person’s sexual orientation isn’t newsworthy, that context was important to mention because Elijè also made a similar accusation on Twitter last year against rapper Playboi Carti. As Bossip reminded readers, those claims were “allegedly discredited.”
The eight-time NBA All Star had been nursing a lingering gluteal injury that kept him sidelined this past regular season. Howard recently got engaged to South Carolina University star basketball Te’a Cooper.