According to a memo obtained by NewsOne, Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity, Inc., Yoba was removed from his position as spokesman for the Sigma Beta Club program, which is focused on providing mentorship to “pre-teen and teen-aged males” through social, cultural and educational enrichment. The “Empire” actor, who is an honorary member of the historic Black fraternity, was named the spokesperson earlier this year.
The memo, dated Sept. 5, was sent out to fraternity members on Thursday and said the organization’s decision to remove Yoba came after allegations were made against him by Mariah Lopez Ebony, a trans woman who claimed the actor paid her for sex when she was underage. Other women have also shared similar stories.
“Those reports allege that Yoba had been previously involved in an inappropriate relationship 20 years ago, allegations that Brother Yoba denies,” the memo said. “This is a serious issue and the allegation is inconsistent with, and a distraction to, the focus of the Sigma Beta Club. To safeguard the reputation of the program and Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity Inc., the National Sigma Beta Club Foundation, in consultation with Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity’s leadership, has determined it to be in the best interest of all concerned that Brother Malik Yoba no longer serve as the National Spokesperson for the Sigma Beta Club program.”
On Sunday, Lopez, who is also a trans activist, wrote a Facebook post that has since gone viral claiming that Yoba sought out trans sex workers and took an interest in her when she was 13 and 16 years old. She also alleged that he begged for unprotected sex. Her post came after Yoba revealed on social media that he was attracted to trans women.
“You always remember celebrity clients. It’s like time slows down. You remember every detail, Blood pounding. He was cute, and polite, don’t get me wrong. But I’m sure he knew what he was doing, was Wrong…..” Lopez recalled. “What Malik paid me to do, as a 13 and 16 year old, wasn’t love. His ignoring that I was clearly a child prostitute, wasn’t love.”
After the rap, he stated, “A lot of nonsense is floating around town the last few days. I’m like, ‘What am I going to say about all this?’ I’m not going to defend myself. Im’a dig deep. Im’a lean into my creativity. Im’a lean into the purpose and the purpose is the service. It’s all it’s about. Love.”
The allegations against Yoba were not the first time Phi Beta Sigma has had to deal with claims of sexual misconduct. In 2017, a lawsuit was filed against Marcellus White, a New Orleans police officer and Sigma youth leader, after he was accused of using his position to sexually abuse children. The fraternity was also named in the suit, which was filed in New Orleans Parish District Court.