Matisyahu Freaks Out, Attacks A Photographer

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Just a week after shaving his beard and renouncing his Hasidism, Jewish rapper Matisyahu has made headlines again, this time for attacking a photographer at a show.

The report comes courtesy of photographer Rebecca Smeyne, who (full disclosure!) is a friend and sometime collaborator of mine. According to the account she wrote for Paper, Smeyne was just doing her job, shooting photos of his special Hanukkah concert at The Music Hall of Williamsburg, when he decided to kick her in the face and damage her camera:

After 12 flash shots over a few minute period (the camera gives me this data), Matisyahu stepped toward me, off the stage. The person in front of me moved and the next thing I knew Matisyahu's foot was on my face and I fell to the ground. At first I assumed he was trying to crowdsurf, that he wasn't deliberately trying to step on me. But when I got up, he was in the middle of the audience. When I turned to look at him, he charged at me and attempted to forcefully wrestle the camera away from me. I had the camera strap wrapped around my wrist several times, and I held the body tightly with both hands. Finally, he ripped the external flash off the top of the camera, leaving wires exposed. Suffice to say, this is not an inexpensive piece of equipment, and he had clearly damaged it deliberately.

Smeyne did what any reasonable person would do and called the cops to file a report so as to increase her chances of being reimbursed for the damages. But before that could happen, Matisyahu's manager gave her “a fat stack of bills” and apologized for Matisyahu's behavior, calling it “out of character.” She accepted the compensation, declined to file a report, and went home. Happy Hannukah!

Why did Matisyahu freak out like this? Smeyne speculates that the recent attention could be stressing him out; others suggest he has issues with women. Who knows what's been causing him to re-think his religious affiliation and stance on facial hair? Whatever it is, I hope he gets his anger problem under control before he injures someone. As both a friend and a fan of her work, I'm glad Rebecca is okay.

(Via Paper Magazine)