A star Afrobeat singer has announced that someone claiming to have a sex tape of her and her boyfriend is trying to extort her for an undisclosed amount of money.
Tiwa Savage told radio personality Angie Martinez during a recent interview that her boyfriend mistakenly posted the video on social media, where the would-be blackmailer downloaded it and is effectively holding it for ransom. But so fat the extortionist has come up empty, something Savage said will continue if she has her way.
“I am not going to call it a sex tape but it’s a tape between me and the person I am dating right now,” Savage told Martinez.
Savage said she learned about the video’s existence when her road manager sent a message telling her to check her phone. That’s when Savage said she first saw the video.
“I’m so sorry,” Martinez said while pointing out how calm the singer is considering the circumstances.
But Savage said that was because she is resolute in not paying the money being demanded in a purported exchange for the video. Save said she will not pay because she suspects even if she did fork over the money, the video would somehow get released anyway. Also, she said, there is no guarantee that is the only copy of it.
“I’m not going to allow anyone to blackmail me for doing something that is natural,” Savage said.
She added that her boyfriend is “going crazy” over the attempted extortion.
The BBC reported that Savage has a 6-year-old son with her former husband and that the singer said she will have to “brace” him for the existence of the video footage, whether he learns about it now or in the future.
“I am going to talk to him and for me it is even later on when he’s about 15 and someone is trying to be rude to him,” Savage said. “I just have to brace him up.”
To be sure, what is happening to Savage is more than simply extortion and blackmail — it is also revenge porn, which is a felony in the U.S. It is unclear whether the video was recorded or is being held in Nigeria, Savage’s native country.
Another Nigerian singer last year was also at the center of a revenge porn extortion case that centered on a blackmailer threatening to release nude images of her. Queen Salawa Abeni took a similar tack as Savage and refused to pay. But then she went one step further and released the photos on her own, according to Nigerian news outlet the Guardian.
“These could’ve been pictures of me in the hospital or even with my partner, but is this what has become of us??” Queen Salawa Abeni said in a statement before releasing the images. “I plead with everybody out there to be very careful as our current situation has made people very desperate. I am almost 60 years old, I have worked very hard and made a name for myself for somebody to believe that they can threaten and trample on my feelings, this is very sad.”
According to the BBC, revenge porn in Nigeria is also illegal and is punishable by as many as three years in prison.