In today’s episode of ‘the world is going down the drain’, it appears there is a new trend where concertgoers spend a small fortune on gig tickets only to abuse the person they came to see. And yes, it is abuse.
The trend has arisen from a spate of incidents where fans have thrown random objects at celebrities on stage; Harry Styles, Pink and Lil Nas X to name a few. It’s important to note that the culprits appear to be using the objects to take aim directly at the star, not just the stage in general.
It all began when American singer Bebe Rexha was assaulted by a fan while playing in New York in mid-June 2023, with a phone hitting her squarely on the browbone causing bruising and requiring stitches. The phone severed her eyebrow in two, with police quickly launching an investigation into the incident.
The man charged said his actions were done in jest. I’m not sure about you, but I don’t think it’s funny to split someone’s eyebrow. Ever. But especially when that person is on stage to share their creativity, talent and love with an audience of fans. It is beyond comprehension.
At first, the music industry thought that the serial occurrences were directed at women, with items thrown at Bebe Rexha, Ava Max and Pink within one week. However, it appears that it is just performers in general, with Lil Nas X, Drake and Harry Styles now all affected by this worrying trend.
I’ve seen musings on the internet that people have ‘forgotten’ concert etiquette throughout Covid lockdowns, but we all know this is something much more sinister. No amount of time sitting indoors should make you consider the potential of hurting someone else… let alone think it’s funny.
Whether these people want 15 minutes of fame (read: infamy) or are just sadistic creatures with a new outlet for their societal disdain, it doesn’t appear that the widespread condemnation online is moving the needle on this revolting behaviour. Potentially, only the enforcement of stronger laws around these acts can see them quelled?
It goes without saying that if artists are forced to put up with this kind of treatment any longer, the stage-side access we expect when buying concert tickets may no longer exist. What other option is there? Have the artist perform in front of Perspex glass? Or even a hologram? The mind boggles.
Regardless, this worrying trend will change the way we view gigs if it continues. When it comes to concert safety, venues and tour managers cannot risk their talent being injured while trying to do their jobs. That is basic work safety.
If you’re not convinced on how serious this issue truly is, we have rounded up all the incidents that have taken place since Rexha was hit in a timeline, so you can see how concentrated and similar the attacks have been.
It’s clear there’s a pattern here and there is only one message. It is not ‘iconic’ to behave in this way, it is plainly idiotic.
Every Celebrity That Has Been Hit By Fans Throwing Random Objects On Stage
A man has since been charged after allegedly throwing his phone at singer-songwriter Bebe Rexha on 19 June 2023. Rexha was playing at New York’s Pier 17 for a crowd of onlookers when the phone was thrown at her, splitting her eyebrow open and requiring stitches.
According to the BBC, the 27-year-old man who threw the phone said, “I was trying to see if I could hit her with the phone at the end of the show because it would be funny.”
Singer Ava Max was performing on stage in Los Angeles on June 20, 2023, when a crazed fan jumped on stage and slapped her.
The concertgoer was rushed off stage by security, but Max later took to Twitter to share the aftermath of the incident.
“He slapped me so hard that he scratched the inside of my eye,” Max wrote. “He’s never coming to a show again thank you to the fans for being spectacular tonight in LA though!!”
American singer, Pink, was completely taken aback when a fan threw a container holding their mother’s ashes on stage at the British Summer Time Festival in London on 25 June 2023.
The moment was caught on video, with the artist looking shocked at the surprise addition on stage. “This is your mum?” she asked, “I don’t know how to feel about this.”
Following the spate of assaults on female artists, Adele took the stage on the first weekend of July, 2023, to share her thoughts. Performing at The Colosseum in Las Vegas, she said, “Have you noticed how people are forgetting f**king show etiquette at the moment?
“People are throwing sh*t on stage. Have you seen that?”
Adele began using a t-shirt launcher to launch merch into the crowd, while condemning the practice.
“I f**king dare you – I dare you to throw something at me. I’ll f**king kill you.” Some straight up language from the British singer there.
Lil Nas X
On July 1, Lil Nas X was performing at Lollapalooza Stockholm in Sweden when a sex toy was thrown at him on stage. He narrowly avoided getting hit and laughed off the incident, but he did ask the crowd to identify the person who threw it.
Kelsea Ballerini was the next target, with a bracelet thrown on the stage, hitting her squarely in the eye on July 5, 2023 while performing in Idaho. The singer left the stage for a moment alongside her team to make sure they were all ok before returning to talk about the incident.
“All I care about is keeping everyone safe. If you ever don’t feel safe, please let someone around you know. If anyone’s pushing too much or you just have that gut feeling, just always flag it,” the star said.
She added, “Don’t throw things, you know?”
Ballerini followed her speech with a message on Instagram the following day, writing, “Hi. I’m fine. Someone threw a bracelet, it hit me in the eye, and it more so just scared me than hurt me. We all have triggers and layers of fears way deeper than what is shown, and that’s why I walked offstage to calm down and make sure myself, band and crew and the crowd all felt safe to continue.”
On July 6, 2023, Drake was performing in Chicago when someone threw their phone at him, in a very similar incident to what happened to Bebe Rexha. However, Drake was lucky in that it bounced off his arm, not his eye, and he appeared to move on quickly from the terrifying incident.
Harry Styles was hit directly in the eye while performing in Vienna on July 8, 2023. Naturally, the singer flinched in pain at the oncoming object, bringing his head to his hands for a moment before continuing with his performance. Styles is yet to comment on the incident, but it’s certainly not the first time a fan has hurled something at him (he’s had everything from a tampon to a chicken tender thrown his way over the years).
A full drink was thrown at Cardi B while she was on stage in Las Vegas on July 29, 2023. The singer looked momentarily taken aback by the afront, before she proceeded to throw her mic at the fan in retaliation.
Security quickly came along to remove the fan and the microphone was given back to Cardi B, who continued with her show.
Actress Florence Pugh faced a similar fate as the singers while attending a Comic-Con event in Brazil.
The 27 year old, known for her roles in Oppenheimer and Little Women was there to promote her new movie Dune, when an object was pelted at her, hitting her just under the eye. Videos have surfaced of the star appearing to utter an expletive, although this has not been confirmed and the object has not been identified.
While the starlet is yet to speak out about the experience, her fans rushed to her defence online, posting memes of Liam Neeson in Taken with comments about how they want authorities to find the person who threw the unwarranted item.