Rapper 50 Cent has confessed to purposefully leaking episodes of his TV hit Power to boost ratings.
The final three instalments of the crime drama's current season four were recently posted online before the scheduled air date, prompting U.S. network officials at Starz to threaten legal action against the person or persons responsible.
50 Cent took to social media over the weekend (12-13Aug17) to claim he had become a prime suspect for TV executives, a notion he appeared to brush off.
"STARZ thinks I leaked my own show," he wrote alongside a collage of images from the series.
50 stopped short of confirming or denying the allegation, but encouraged fans to tune in to the show when it aired during its usual Sunday night (13Aug17) time slot.
The viewing figures for the weekend episode have since revealed a bump in ratings following the leak, and now 50 has come clean about leaking the footage to boast about his promotional tactic online.
"POWER Ratings up another 10 percent for episode 408. They glad I leaked the s**t now (sic). LOL (laugh out loud)," he posted on Instagram on Wednesday (16Aug17). He added the hashtag, "#SAVAGELIFE", confirming his actions were intentional.
50 may have gotten the idea of releasing Power's new material early after learning Game of Thrones fans had shattered ratings records of the cult fantasy drama by tuning in to watch season seven's Spoils of War instalment earlier this month (Aug17), despite the episode leaking online days before.
Starz officials have yet to comment on the hip-hop star's remarks, but he has been clashing with network representatives for some time, and previously threatened to pull Power from the cable channel after they refused to extend the number of episodes featured in seasons four and five.