EXCLUSIVEDeath threats from "Love & Hip Hop Atlanta" star Benzino triggered his firing ... so claims Stevie J, but the guy who got the boot says it's a crock.
TMZ broke the story ... Benzino got the ax right after the brawl on the reunion taping, which sent people to the hospital and resulted in criminal charges filed against Joseline Hernandez.
Stevie J tells TMZ ... Benzino wouldn't let it go ... he went on a campaign of terror, threatening the lives of him and Joseline, producers and other staffers. Stevie tells us, "He said flat out he was going to kill us."
The threats were too much for VH1 and we're told that's why Benzino was banished.
But Benzino tells us, "Stevie J is a habitual liar and VH1 has never given me a reason for being fired."
Benzino thinks this is all about star power and he's the scapegoat because "They wanted to keep the crackhead whore."