SAN ANTONIO — Musician Britney Spears was confronted by security guarding San Antonio Spurs forward Victor Wembanyama at a Las Vegas restaurant on Wednesday night, Wembanyama told reporters Thursday.
The rookie phenom was in town for the Spurs' Summer League games, which start Friday night.
Spears was reportedly trying to get the basketball player's attention when she reached out and touched him. That's when a person guarding Wembanyama "pushed her away," the player said.
Las Vegas Metro Police said Friday that the department had concluded its investigation of the alleged battery incident and that no charges would be filed in the case.
The report on the incident says that Spears' manager told police that when she tried to tap Wembanyama on the shoulder the guard backhanded her with a closed fist, knocking her sunglasses off.
However, a member of Spears' security team later told police that the guard "pushed Britney's hand off of the Spurs player without looking and not knowing who was tapping him on the shoulder.
Police said he added that this is "a standard response for most security/body guards," and that when the man came over to talk to Britney about it they both said sorry to each other and they thought the incident had ended.
Police also looked at footage of the incident
"(The footage) showed Britney going to tap the Spurs player on the shoulder. When she touched the player (Spurs security) pushes her hand off of the player without looking which causes Britney's hand to hit herself in the face," police said. "Due to the fact that (Spurs security) DID NOT willfully or unlawfully use any force or violence upon Britney and probable cause did not exist an Arrest was not made and a Citation was not given."
Wembanyama spoke with reporters Thursday to explain his perspective on the incident.
"There was one person who was calling me, but we talked before with the security... 'don't stop' because it's gonna make a crowd. So that person is calling 'Sir, sir," and that person grabbed me from behind. So I didn't see what happened because I was walking straight and I'm told don't stop, but that person grabbed me from behind... not on my shoulder, she grabbed me from behind."
"I just know that the security pushed her away. I don't know with how much force though but security pushed her away. I didn't stop to look so I kept walking and enjoyed a nice dinner."
Wembanyama said he didn't think much of the incident until later when he learned that the person involved was Spears.
"Actually, I didn't know for a couple of hours. When I came back to the hotel... I thought it was no big deal. Then the security of the Spurs told me it was Britney Spears. First I was like, 'No, you're joking.' Yeah, it turns out it was Britney Spears. I didn't know because I never saw her face. I just kept walking straight."
On Thursday evening, Spears released a statement on social media contradicting Wembanyama's claim that she grabbed him from behind, and saying she had not received an apology from him or the Spurs organization.
"I recognized an athlete in my hotel lobby as I was heading to dinner. I later went to a restaurant at a different hotel and saw him again. I decided to approach him and congratulate him on his success. It was really loud, so I tapped him on the shoulder to get his attention. I am aware of the players statement where he mentions "I grabbed him from behind" but I simply tapped him on the shoulder. His security then back handed me in the face without looking back, in front of a crowd. Nearly knocking me down and causing my glasses off my face," she said.
"I get swarmed by people all the time. In fact, that night. I was swarmed by a group of at least 20 fans. My security team didn't hit any of them," Spears said. "This story is super embarrassing to share with the world but its out there already. However, I think it's important to share this story and urge people in the public eye to set an example and treat all people with respect. Physical violence is happening too much in this world. Often behind closed doors. I stand with all the victims and my heart goes out to all of you!!! I have yet to get a public apology from the player, his security or their organization. I hope they will..."
The Associated Press reported that she did file a police report claiming she was struck by the security guard.
The Las Vegas Metro Police Department released the following statement:
"On July 5, 2023, at approximately 11 p.m., LVMPD officers responded to a property in the 3700 block of Las Vegas Boulevard regarding a battery investigation. The incident has been documented on a police report and no arrest or citations have been issued. No further details will be provided at this time."
Friday morning, Britney's husband, Sam Asghari, defended Britney in an Instagram story, saying "I hope the man in question learns a lesson and changes his disregard for women. Thank you for the support."