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Britney Spears: No charges for Wembanyama security over hit

July 8, 2023

Las Vegas police have said no charges will be filed after pop star Britney Spears filed a report alleging battery. She was trying to talk to the highly-touted 2023 first-pick NBA rookie, Victor Wembanyama.

Picture combo showing Britney Spears in the left half of the frame (2018 photo), and Victor Wembanyama in the right (2023 photo).
Spears had tried to get Wembanyama's attention and later alleged battery on the part of one of his security detailImage: Chris Pizzello/Eric Gay/dpa/ap/picture alliance

The member of the security detail for this year's NBA first round draft pick Victor Wembanyama who allegedly struck Britney Spears in the face will not be charged, Las Vegas police said on Friday. 

The French 19-year-old basketballer was in Las Vegas this week ahead of his first game in the NBA pre-season Summer League, and was heading to a restaurant on Wednesday night when fans and the pop star Spears spotted him. 

Spears was pushed away by Wembanyama's entourage and the singer took to Instragram saying that a security guard "backhanded me in the face... Nearly knocking me down and causing my glasses [to fall] off my face." 

Police say security detail acted appropriately

After Spears filed charges, a Las Vegas police investigation determined that the security guard had not willfully or unlawfully used force or violence. 

Police said surveillance footage of the event "showed Britney going to tap the Spurs player on the shoulder. When she touched the player [redacted] pushes her hand off the player without looking which causes Britney's hand to hit herself in the face." 

Police interviewed security guards for both the Spurs and for Spears herself, with them both saying that the response of removing the hand would be a standard first intervention if someone in a crowd tried to touch the person they were protecting. 

The security guard for the Spurs said he spoke with Spears afterward, identified himself and apologized. Spears' security team said she also apologized, the police report said.

Who are the two stars involved in the incident?  

Wembanyama is a 19-year-old teenager from France, standing 2.26 meters tall (just over 7 foot, 4 inches), and is probably one of the most highly-touted rookies to enter the league in years. Despite his giant frame, he appears to have many of the skills more typically associated with smaller players, like ball handling and a long range shot, making him even more dangerous.

San Antonio Spurs' Victor Wembanyama, the No. 1 draft pick, shoots during an NBA basketball press conference, Saturday, June 24, 2023.
Wembanyama's physical frame and skills have watchers of the sport excited before he's even played a pro game in the USImage: Eric Gay/AP/picture alliance

The San Antonio Spurs picked him first, as expected, in this year's rookie draft, and are hoping he can have a similar impact to the last big man they picked up first in an NBA draft, five-time champion Tim Duncan.

He said of the incident that his security detail had told him not to pause to engage with anyone, for fear of attracting a large crowd.

He said he had heard Spears speaking to him, but had not looked around and had simply walked on so never knew who it was. 

Spears' fame probably peaked in the 1990s and 2000s. The "Princess of Pop" has been struggling with drug abuse and other issues in recent years and fought a protracted legal battle with her father over his extended conservatorship over her assets, winning back control in late 2021

msh/wd (AFP, AP, Reuters)