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Gospel music legend Kirk Franklin apologizes for threatening son in leaked audio clip

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Kirk Franklin on racial divide in churches ahead of Stellar Awards

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Kirk Franklin, the 16-time Grammy-winning gospel music legend, apologized Saturday after his estranged son, Kerrion Franklin, leaked a profane recording of an argument between the two that included physical threats against his son. 

“I will break your neck, (N-word). Don’t you ever disrespect me,” Kirk Franklin, 51, can be heard saying at the end of a phone call, according to a NSFW video posted Saturday to 32-year-old Kerrion Franklin’s Instagram. Both Franklins described the call as “recent.” 

Kirk Franklin found success with choir group Kirk Franklin & The Family and later had a solo career. Through the years, he has collaborated with Whitney Houston, R. Kelly and Mary J. Blige. 

In a video apology, Kirk Franklin told viewers his family has had a “toxic relationship” with Kerrion and “tried for many years through counseling, through therapy to try to rectify this private family matter.” 

He continued: “Recently, my son and I had an argument that he chose to record. I felt extremely disrespected in that conversation and I lost my temper. And I said words that are not appropriate. And I’m sincerely sorry to all of you.”

USA TODAY has reached out to a representative for Kirk Franklin for further comment. 

“He just hung up the phone. ‘I’ll break your neck’ – is that a threat?” Kerrion Franklin can be heard saying in his video recording. In a lengthy caption, he explained that “this is why I’m done. No father should speak to their children like this.” 

“I don’t think I’ll ever trust my father to be alone around him ever again,” he added. “I didn’t want to do this… no matter what (people) think I pray my dad deals with his deep hatred toward me. I don’t feel safe around him at all.” 

Kirk Franklin said the audio recording did not include audio from the family therapist, who he said he called to “try to help.” Kerrion Franklin said in a post Sunday he was the “only (one) that ever called and tried to go to counseling,” accusing his father of playing “mind games.” 

“I’m not perfect,” Kirk Franklin concluded in his video. “I’m human and I’m going to make mistakes, and I’m trying to get it right. Please keep me and my family in your prayers.” 

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