A recent incident at a Lakeland, Florida nightclub has led to serious allegations against the rapper Kevin Gates. During a performance at Rumor's, the performer allegedly kicked a teenage fan who was in the audience. He has been charged with simple assault and could also face damage to his career as the matter receives widening media attention.
According to reports, the incident took place as the rapper was performing onstage. A young fan reached out and touched the shorts that Gates was wearing. At that point, he kicked her in the torso, which was caught on video. The footage has led to outrage within the community. At least one radio station has stopped playing the rapper's songs, and fans have sent video messages denouncing his actions.
In cases such as this, it is imperative to avoid jumping to conclusions. The video footage does clearly show Gates kicking a fan from the edge of the stage. However, it also shows a fan reaching out and grabbing at the performer's clothing. In addition, multiple bright lights are seen flashing across the stage at the time.
Performers often encounter serious and potentially dangerous interactions with fans. In some cases, musicians have been pulled off the stage by overzealous fans; others have suffered injury when they have been struck or had items thrown at them while performing. In this case, it is too soon to rush to judgment on why Gates kicked the teenage fan during the Florida performance. It is possible that his vision was impaired by the stage lighting and that he interpreted the grab at his clothing as a threat to his safety. Until Gates has a chance to respond to the assault charges he faces, it is unfair to assume that he acted with malice; indeed, he is fully protected by the presumption of innocence unless and until prosecutors are able to prove otherwise in court.
Source: wfla.com, "Rapper Kevin Gates charged, fans turn on him for kicking Lakeland teen", Holly Bounds, Sept. 1, 2015