Venues Today Photographer Allegedly Attacked by Odd Future
Photos show rapper Left Brain moments before assault
- by Dave Brooks
- Published: October 31, 2011
Odd Future rapper Left Brain seconds before slapping freelance photographer Amy Harris. (Photo by Amy Harris)
Updated 11:08 p.m. PST: Skip Bolen, a photographer in the photo pit with Amy Harris at the concert issued this statement: "Vyron Turner (Left Brain) and Tyler Okonma (Tyler, The Creator) never told photographers to "clear out" multiple times. Instead, Turner immediately exploded into his vile hatred of photographers with a long string of obscenities, and then hit one male photographer first — breaking his Nikon 70-200mm lens and a split second later hit the female photographer Amy Harris in front of me — it was clearly assault and battery. Whether it was a swing directly at Amy Harris' face or her camera, they are both connected when a photographer is shooting photos -- and after the incident, Amy Harris' face was red."
Updated 10:21 p.m. PST: Marcee Rondan from the Mitch Schneider Organization has issued the following statement: "The Voodoo Experience does not in any way condone the behavior of Odd Future towards the approved media assembled in the photo pit during the band’s set yesterday. Festival organizers would like to apologize to their media guests who experienced and/or witnessed this abusive behavior."
A Venues Today freelance photographer covering the Voodoo Experience in New Orleans said she was slapped in the head by a rapper from the group Odd Future Wolf Gang Kill Them All while taking photographs during the group’s daytime set.
The assault allegedly happened moments after the group took the stage Sunday Oct. 30, 2011. Harris, a veteran concert and music photographer based in Cincinnati, said the rapper yelled, “I hate you bitch,” before striking her in the head with his open hand. The group has a history of complaining about photographers at their show and have come under fire by women’s rights groups for their misogynistic lyrics. Sunday is the first time a violent incident has been connected to the group.
Harris was credentialed to shoot the concert by the publicity firm Mitch Schneider Organization and organizers of Voodoo Experience. She was ushered into the photo pit area in front of the stage by Voodoo staff moments before the group came on. Two members of the group appeared first on the stage and didn’t cause any problems — it wasn’t until group leader Tyler, The Creator came out that things apparently started to get ugly.
“He told the crowd that he hated photographers because the fans paid good money to see the band, and they should be up front,” she said.
His words seemed to rile a couple of rappers on stage, who walked over to the group of 30 to 40 photographers shooting the set. The rappers apparently started to try to pour water on the shooters' cameras and equipment. Photographers started leaving the pit, but Harris stayed and kept snapping photos. That’s when rapper Left Brain, real name Vyron Turner, approached the photo pit and while standing on a stack of monitors, began hitting and kicking the photographers' equipment. Turner then turned his attention on Harris, slapping her in the head as she tried to take his picture, knocking the camera out of her hands.
"It literally knocked the lens out of the body of the camera," said Harris, who didn’t press criminal charges against the group, she said. “I had a mark on my face for a couple hours afterwards."
Harris and the other photographers were quickly ushered out of the photo pit. In a twist of irony, Harris was immediately ushered backstage to interview promoter and festival organizer Stephen Rehage for a separate story in a future issue of Venues Today.
“I told him what happened and he was horrified,” she said. “They were very concerned.”
The band is represented by agent Carter Adams from the Windish Agency and managed by Christian Clancy from 4 Strikes Inc. Venues Today contacted both Adams and Clancy and did not receive a response. Odd Future is slated to play concerts this week in Florida including a gig tonight at the Fillmore Miami Beach at Jackie Gleason Theater, before heading to Austin next weekend for a spot at the Fun Fun Fun Fest.
We think this video captures Odd Future attacking Amy Harris. The assault happens right around the 1:20 mark. Notice that Left Brain appears to be very riled up and very aggressive.
More photos from Amy Harris
- by Dave Brooks
- Published: October 31, 2011