[Updated] Photographer and OffBeat contributor Skip Bolen was in the photo pit at Voodoo when Odd Future’s Left Brain struck out at photographers. Here’s his account from his Facebook page:
MY STATEMENT: I was there in the photo-pit for Odd Future at Voodoo Experience – I clearly saw three attempts by LeftBrain attacking photographers. First, I saw LeftBrain kick at photographers and I was later told that kick was aimed at a video camera and crew – that happened about 15 feet off to my right – there were quite a few photographers between myself and that incident. Then secondly, I sawLeftBrain take a swing at Photographer Chris Schwegler about 10 feet to my right – and later, I spoke to Schwegler – LeftBrain hit his lens and camera hard enough that his Nikon telephoto lens was no longer fully working – it takes quite a smack to take out a lens. Photos taken by photographer Marc Nader of Chris Schwegler taking a hit from Leftbrain are posted on both Marc Nader and Chris Schwegler’s FaceBook pages. Then a few beats later, LeftBrain took a swing at Amy N Harris – there was another photographer between Amy and myself when the incident occurred but the photos that I took are posted at WireImage.com showing LeftBrain bending over and taking a swing – unfortunately Amy Harris is not in those photos, but they better help tell the story – they clearly show Vyron Turner (Leftbrain) taking a swing: http://bit.ly/vGlvpm (go to second page)
All three times LeftBrain made a physical action to aggressively move towards photographers followed by taking a kick or a swing – it was clearly assault and battery when LeftBrain connected with each photographer. When a photographer is shooting – the camera, face and lens are practically one – any attempt to hit a lens and camera is still hitting one in the face. I later saw Amy Harris’ face – it was red. I saw and held Schwegler’s telephoto lens, it wasn’t right. Photographers Amy Harris and Chris Schwegler have clearly told their stories on each of their Facebook pages with comments and documented photos.
Unfortunately the statement from the Odd Future publicist is very incorrect about “After telling photographers to clear out multiple times” – Vyron Turner (Leftbrain) and Tyler Okonma (Tyler, The Creator) never told photographers to “clear out” multiple times, instead, LeftBrain was shouting his vile dislike of photographers and how they get to be in the photo-pit for “free” while their fans actually pay to see the show. Leftbrain’s hostile attempts and what he was shouting was affecting the crowd in close proximity to me on the other side of the barricade – they too all of a sudden following Leftbrain’s lead started screaming at the photographers to get the f*ck out. Personally, I felt VERY threatened every time I was pointing my camera at LeftBrain and we made eye contact – I thought for sure he was going to take it a step further and jump down into the photo pit.
On October 28, all approved Voodoo Experience photographers received an e-mail outlining all artist photo/video restrictions – and for Odd Future, it stated: “Absolutely no video allowed and nobody allowed onstage.” If Odd Future didn’t want photographers in the photo-pit, they clearly had an opportunity to include a restriction not allowing photographers into the photo-pit for their show.
This footage from Voodoo doesn’t show Left Brain make contact, but at the 1:20 mark, you see him take a good swing with his right hand at someone or something in front of him and below him.
[Another Update: This video can no longer be embedded. See “Transylvania” at Voodoo’s website.]
VenuesToday.com has photos from the pit leading up to the slap.
Updated 1:48 p.m.
Not to pile on Odd Future, but Steve Albini recently recounted his encounter with the hip-hop collective to BrooklynVegan.com and wasn’t impressed.
Also, Bolen has uploaded a sequence of photos around the slap complete with his commentary in an album on Facebook.