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Britney Spears and Victor Wembanyama

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On Wednesday, an incident happened in Las Vegas between No. 1 NBA draft pick Victor Wembanyama and pop star Britney Spears. But there are conflicting stories about what happened.

According to Spears, she spotted Wembanyama at the Aria Hotel, tapped him on the shoulder to ask him for a photo and a member of his security team backhanded her and kept walking without so much as looking back at her. Wembanyama said he never really saw her (or knew who she was), but she grabbed him from behind and his security guard “pushed her away.” Spears, who filed a police report behind the incident, according to Yahoo Sports, insists that it was a tap, not a grab, and a slap, not a push.

“Traumatic experiences are not new to me and I have had my fair share of them,” Spears wrote in a statement. “I was not prepared for what happened to me last night. I recognized an athlete in my hotel lobby as I was heading to dinner. I later went to a restaurant at a different hotel and saw him again. I decided to approach him and congratulate him on his success. It was really loud, so I tapped him on the shoulder to get his attention. I am aware of the player’s statement where he mentions ‘I grabbed him from behind’ but 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.”

“Something did happen, a little bit when I was walking with some security from the team to some restaurant,” Wembanyama recalled during an interview. “We were in the hall. There was a lot of people, so people calling me, obviously. There was one person who was calling me, but we talked before with the security. I couldn’t stop. That person was calling me, ‘sir, sir,’ and that person grabbed me from behind,” he continued.

“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 the nice dinner.”

Then there’s an alleged eyewitness to the altercation whose version of the story that’s at least slightly different from Spears, the San Antonio Spurs rookie and, apparently, one law enforcement source.

From 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. Brian says Britney’s sunglasses flew off, but he doesn’t recall if she fell, but there was a lot of commotion.

He says Victor walked into the restaurant, and, in a British accent, Britney screamed, “This is f**king America!!!”

So, listen: I realize that to many people, this story is going to look like a clear incident of violence against women—and maybe that’s what it is. There are just too many versions of the story to know what’s what. But, as a Black man, I must say this situation is giving me big Karen vibes.

First of all, I’m always going to be wary about any story that ends with a white person shouting “This is America!” (I’m also just really confused about the British accent Spears was allegedly using. Wembanyama is French. And even if he wasn’t, faking an accent when approaching someone with an accent is some weird white American nonsense nobody but weird white Americans seem to find amusing.)

Secondly, even if you consider all versions of the story, it looks like a white woman insisted on getting a Black man’s attention, touches him from behind when she doesn’t get it, got dealt with by security the way overzealous fans get dealt with sometimes (I have a hard time believing her fans have never been on the receiving end of this treatment by her security team) and now she’s demanding an apology from Wembanyama, who doesn’t even appear to have any idea what all went down after he was allegedly grabbed.

“Physical violence is happening too much in this world,” Spears’ statement continued. “Often behind closed doors. I stand with all the victims and my heart goes out to all of you!!! Have yet to get a public apology from the player, his security or their organization.”

Of course, according to Yahoo, the accused security director, Damian Smith, did apologize to Spears hours after the incident, and she accepted his apology.

But, whatever, maybe I’m wrong. Spears’ fans on Twitter certainly would disagree with me.

But even Britney’s supporters are giving me Karen vibes as so many of them appear to be approaching this situation with a “He’s a big Black guy, she’s a little demur white woman” attitude.

Other people on Twitter, as usual, had jokes.

Anyway, the Metro PD is reportedly conducting a criminal investigation, into the incident and investigators told TMZ the case will “likely” be sent to the DA for review. So, maybe we’ll find out what actually happened. Or maybe we won’t. I guess all we can do is stay tuned.


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