Musician Wyclef Jean is known for telling stories through song as a member of the band The Fugees. But now he's being accused of being a tall tale-teller, too, for his claim this weekend that a bullet grazed his hand as he stepped out of a car to make a telephone call in Haiti.
Jean, who has been in Haiti helping the presidential campaign of his friend and fellow musician Michel "Sweet Micky" Martelly, said the bullet grazed him late Saturday night as he stepped out of his car in the Delmas section of the capital, Port-au-Prince, to make a call on his cellphone.
"The way I can explain it is that the bullet grazed me in my right hand," Jean told The Associated Press in a telephone interview. "I heard blow, blow, blow, and I just looked at my hand."
Jean, who was with a driver and the Haitian hip-hop singer FanFan at the time, said he didn't know who fired the shots, or whether they were directed at him. He said he got out of the car to have a private conversation that FanFan would not overhear. He heard the shots and looked down to see blood on his shirt and sneakers.
But that's not the story local police are confirming.
"We met with the doctor who saw him and he confirmed Wyclef was cut by glass," Vanel Lacroix, police chief in Petionville where Jean is staying, told Reuters, according to the New York Daily News.
Later, Jean was asked by reporters to comment on rumors that he had been injured by broken glass, not a bullet. "This is Haiti; it's a city of rumors," he said as he went to vote in the Delmas section of Port-au-Prince. "There's another one with me and Busta Rhymes in the car."
A new elastic bandage covered a portion of Jean's right hand, which he used to cast his ballot. Sitting in the back of a silver Toyota Prado SUV, he showed the AP his ink-stained thumb on his bandaged hand as evidence that he voted.
Jean, a native of Haiti who rocketed to fame as a member of the hip-hop trio The Fugees, came to Haiti to support Martelly, who faces university administrator and former first lady Mirlande Manigat.
Jean had initially sought to be a candidate in the race but Haiti's electoral council disqualified him from the ballot because he didn't meet residency requirements. He has actively campaigned for Martelly, most recently joining him in a concert Thursday in downtown Port-au-Prince that drew thousands of spectators.
"We are happy that Wyclef is OK but we continue to pray for him and for a peaceful and fair election today in Haiti," the Rev. Al Sharpton, who has worked with Jean on educational issues and bringing aid to Haiti after the devastating January 2010 earthquake, said in a statement.
The statement also quoted Jimmy Rosemond, a music manager said to be accompanying Jean on his current trip to Haiti.
"It is clear that enemies of progressive change in Haiti are behind the shooting of Wyclef - those that don't want to accept that a monumental change is inevitable for the betterment of the Haitian people," Rosemond said. "This incident will not deter those of us that see the election as crucial to the country's future."
The Associated Press contributed to this report.