A close-up of Britney Spears smiling

Britney Spears Says She Hasn’t Even Gotten an Apology After Violent Incident With a Security Guard

There is a weird and troubling trend happening. Just this Wednesday night in Las Vegas, the real thing herself, yes, that’s THE Britney Spears, reportedly got backhanded in the face by an NBA security guy in an incident at the ARIA Hotel. TMZ broke the story, which Spears later verified with her own post about it on Twitter. And besides being just horrifying and bizarre, the whole incident—which comes right on the heels of pop star Bebe Rexha being hit in the face by a phone thrown by a “fan” during a concert in NYC—just smacks of weird, violent misogyny. 

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Spears and her husband, Sam Asghari, were having dinner at a hotel restaurant when they noticed NBA star Victor Wembanyama was there as well. TMZ said Spears is apparently a fan of the player. Multiple reports, including video, witnesses cited by TMZ, and Spears’ own statement, say she approached the athlete and tapped him on the back right shoulder to get his attention. 

Immediately after the tap, a member of Wembanyama’s security team, later identified as the director of team security for the San Antonio Spurs, Damian Smith, allegedly just effing smacked Britney in the face, according to initial reports. In her statement on the incident, Spears wrote, “I simply tapped him on the shoulder. His security then backhanded me in the face without looking back in front of a crowd. Nearly knocking me down and causing my glasses [to fall] off my face.” Witnesses quoted by TMZ seem to corroborate most of her story. However, police have told TMZ that security footage seems like it shows Smith backhanding Spears’ hand so that Spears’ hand was propelled back violently at her own face. And two of Spears’ own security guards told police this is what happened, but damn if the video doesn’t show excessive force. 

https://twitter.com/britneyspears/status/1677073259869900800

Wembanyama told a Kens5.com reporter that Spears actually “grabbed him behind,” but Britney’s tweet and video evidence proved that wasn’t true.

Apparently, Smith later went to Spears’ table to apologize, saying something to the effect of “You understand how it is when fans swarm you,” and said he didn’t know who she was when he hit her. I have a few questions. Britney is approached by fans constantly, but do you think her security hits women over it? In her tweet, she wrote, “I get swarmed by people all the time. In fact, that night. I got swarmed by a group of at least 20 fans. My security team didn’t hit any of them.” 

And would it have been OK to use such force on an un-famous woman in the face without even looking up at her first? An un-famous woman certainly wouldn’t have triggered the chain of consequences he’s facing now. 

The Las Vegas Metro Police confirmed to TMZ that they opened a criminal investigation into the incident, but Smith was not charged. And is it your standard practice to go agro like that without making visual contact with who you’re about to hit? Maybe he should take a page from the It’s Always Sunny book of bodyguarding and conduct an “ocular patdown” to determine if the target is a threat before getting physical. 

I’m aware of the strange, incel-adjacent argument that saying a man shouldn’t hit a woman is “anti-feminist,” but this rationalization is totally lacking in context, like thousands of years of men’s physical and cultural power over women. Actually, Spears’ husband Sam Asghari (who I think has unfairly been given a sort of himbo-esque reputation in the media), has been the one to address the bizarre imbalance of Smith attacking the tiny, unarmed star in his Instagram stories

“I am opposed to violence in any form, especially without justification in the defense of yourself or someone else who is unable to defend themselves,” Spears’ spouse wrote on Wednesday.

“Self-defense can be unavoidable, but the defense of any woman, especially my wife, is not debatable,” he continued. “I consider my reaction subdued considering what occurred, and I hope the man in question learns a lesson and changes his disregard for women.”

Las Vegas police have announced that no charges will be filed in the incident. Meanwhile, Spears tweeted that she has yet to get a public apology from the player, the team, or the security guard.

(featured image: Axelle/Bauer-Griffin/FilmMagic)


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Author
Cammy Pedroja
Author and independent journalist since 2015. Frequent contributor of news and commentary on social justice, politics, culture, and lifestyle to publications including The Mary Sue, Newsweek, Business Insider, Slate, Women, USA Today, and Huffington Post. Lover of forests, poetry, books, champagne, and trashy TV.