Britney Spears was allegedly assaulted on Wednesday night (Jul. 05, 2023) in Las Vegas.
The 41-year-old pop star allegedly approached NBA star Victor Wembanyama and was backhanded in the face by Damian Smith, the San Antonio Spurs’ director of team security, leading her to file a police report, via TMZ.
The apparent incident happened at Catch restaurant in the ARIA Hotel around 8:30 PM. Britney, along with her husband Sam Asghari and two other people went for dinner when they spotted the sports star.
“We’re told she’s a fan and went over to him to ask if they could take a photo together. She tapped him on his back, right shoulder and, we’re told the Director of Team Security for the San Antonio Spurs — the team that drafted Victor last month — instantly backhanded her, causing her to fall to the ground … knocking her glasses off,” the outlet reported.
According to TMZ:
Brian Grajales, a Canadian who was outside Catch restaurant Wednesday night says he saw Britney approach Victor’s entourage, clearly wanting to take a photo with him.
Brian says she “infiltrated” her way into his circle, leaned in, and in a British accent, said, “Excuse me, sir … excuse me, sir.” She then touched Victor’s back, and that’s when he says the head of Victor’s security backhanded her right in the face.
One law enforcement source told TMZ, the security guy hit Britney’s hand and her hand then hit her face, but Brian squarely disputes that. He says the security guy struck her.
He says Victor walked into the restaurant, and, in a British accent, Britney screamed, “This is f**king America!!!”
After the incident, the San Antonio Spurs player’s head of security then “went over to Britney and apologized and their security teams chatted for a while,” the insider said, noting that “a police report was filed by Britney’s team.”
Spears on Thursday evening (Jul. 06, 2023) released a statement addressing the incident, denying that she grabbed NBA star Victor Wembanyama and claiming that she merely tapped him on the shoulder. This prompted Damian Smith, the Spurs’ director of team security, to “back hand me in the face without looking back.” Spears called the incident a “traumatic experience,” and pointed out that despite Smith’s insistence that he responded in this manner because Wembanyama is frequently swarmed by fans, “I get swarmed by people all the time. In fact, that night. … My security team didn’t hit any of them.”
According to Spears’ statement, she’s “yet to get a public apology from the player, his security or his organization,” but “[hopes] they will.” Spears concluded, “Physical violence is happening too much in this world… I stand with all the victims and my heart goes out to all of you!” Her full statement is included below:
Victor Wembanyama Says He Was “Grabbed From Behind”
According to the Associated Press via Billboard:
Wembanyama said security advised him to not stop for anyone as he walked into the restaurant, mindful that pausing could cause a stir and allow a crowd to build.
“Something did happen, a little bit, when I was walking with some security from the team to some restaurant,” Wembanyama said. “We were in the hall. There was a lot of people, so people were calling [at] me, obviously. There was one person who was calling me but we talked before with security.
“I couldn’t stop. That person was calling me, ‘Sir, sir,’ and that person grabbed me from behind,” Wembanyama said. “I didn’t see what happened because I was walking straight and didn’t stop. That person grabbed me from behind — not on my shoulder, she grabbed me from behind. I just know the security pushed her away. I don’t know with how much force but security pushed her away. I didn’t stop to look so I could walk in and enjoy a nice dinner.”
Stay tuned to see how all of this plays out.