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Orthodox Jewish rapper Matisyahu, who made headlines last week for shaving off his beard, is now garnering media attention for entirely different reasons.
At a concert in Brooklyn on Wednesday, the recording artist allegedly attacked a female photographer because her camera flash was too “distracting.”
During the concert, the photographer, Rebecca Smyne tweeted: “I was just attacked by mAtisyahu calling cops pressing charges. Wtf! He kicked me in face and broke my camera!!!!!”
She later added: “I’m ok; after cops showed, matisyahu’s manager, who witnessed the incident, gave me a fat stack of cash to cover damages. Happy hanukkah!”
After the show ended, the “King Without a Crown” rapper tweeted several messages to Smyne.
“Sorry about last night,” he wrote. “I totally snapped. I wouldn’t call it a kick, more like stepping into the crowd. And being that you’ve shot so many shows you should know how distracting a huge flash in your face is. Seemed like you were there everywhere I turned with that flash. Next time be more sensitive to the performer.”
Smyne fired back, saying she had every right to use a flash as there were no restrictions placed on photographers for the performance. She also said there was a “visible mark” on her face and left browbone afterward.
She also claimed the attack was more than what he suggested.
“It hurt,” she wrote. “He looked right at me before he did it. He stepped on my face, on purpose. Call it what you will — slow kick?”
She also tweeted to the rapper: “I wasn’t even in the front row and as you can see in the photos I wasn’t close to you at all most of the time.”
Matisyahu later issued a statement apologizing for the incident.
“I regret what transpired when I tried to remove the camera from the photographer’s hands last night,” he said. “As an artist on stage, it is very distracting and disorienting to have a camera flashing in your face for an extended period of time. I reacted impulsively out of frustration and for that I apologize.”
Matisyahu was Billboard magazine’s reggae artist of the year in 2006. He also collaborated with Akon on an update of his 2009 single “One Day” for the 2010 Winter Olympics.
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