Megan Thee Stallion takes the stand in Tory Lanez trial with support from demonstrators

Megan Thee Stallion arrives at court to testify in the trial of rapper Tory Lanez, whom she has accused of assault.
Megan Thee Stallion arrives at court to testify in the trial of rapper Tory Lanez, whom she has accused of assault.
(Jason Armond / Los Angeles Times)

Megan Thee Stallion usually isn’t shy when holding a microphone in front of tens of thousands of people at music festivals and during headline sets across the country.

But donning a purple suit before an audience of less than 100 inside a downtown L.A. courtroom, the normally swaggering voice behind hits such as “WAP” and “Savage” was often on the verge of cracking.

The rapper, whose legal name is Megan Pete, talked about depression and suicide. She teared up repeatedly. And she expressed regret for ever coming forward about the incident that landed her in court Tuesday — her 2020 shooting, allegedly at the hands of Canadian hip-hop star Tory Lanez.


“I wish he would’ve just shot and killed me if I knew I was going to have to go through this torture,” Pete, 27, testified.

Tory Lanez, a Canadian rapper, was found guilty of shooting Megan Thee Stallion outside a Hollywood Hills mansion in 2020. Here’s everything you need to know about the trial.

Dec. 24, 2022

For four hours on the witness stand Tuesday, Pete spoke in detail about a wild July 2020 night that started at a Hollywood Hills party and ended with her in handcuffs and later in a Los Angeles hospital with bullet fragments in her feet.

Lanez, whose real name is Daystar Peterson, has been charged with assault with a firearm, illegal weapons possession and negligent discharge of a gun. If convicted, he faces more than 22 years in prison.

The case has reinvigorated discussions about misogyny in the male dominated hip-hop industry, which Pete has risen to the top of with a discography of songs about powerful women. Peterson released an entire record denying the shooting in 2020. More recently, Drake hinted he didn’t believe Pete’s accusations against Peterson in the track “Circo Loco.”

On Tuesday, Pete expressed fury that much of the discussion around the case had focused on whether she and Peterson ever had sex — a fact she had denied publicly until the trial — rather than her injuries.

“This whole story has not been about the shooting. It’s only been about who I been having sex with,” she said. “When people talk about Megan Thee Stallion getting shot, all the headlines are Megan Thee Stallion is on trial and I’m not on trial!”


Pete said Tuesday that she was driving away from a party at makeup mogul Kylie Jenner’s house with Peterson, his bodyguard and her former longtime friend Kelsey Harris when an argument erupted inside their SUV on Nichols Canyon Road. Peterson became upset that Pete had asked him to leave the party, she said Tuesday.

Then Peterson turned around and told Pete she needed “to stop lying” to Harris about their relationship.

Pete told the court that she and Peterson had become friends and bonded over the loss of their mothers in the months before the shooting. They also occasionally had a sexual relationship.

Harris had a “crush” on Peterson, according to Pete, and after the revelation about their sex lives, the argument spiraled out of control. Peterson called both women “bitches and hos,” Pete testified Tuesday, then the two began bickering over their musical careers.

Pete asked to be let out of the car. But as she walked away, Pete said in court Tuesday, Peterson allegedly opened fire on her and yelled “dance, bitch!” wounding Pete’s feet.

“I’m in shock. I’m scared. I hear the gun going off, and I can’t believe he’s shooting at me,” Pete said Tuesday.


The group drove away from the area, with Pete trying to stanch her bloody wound with towels in the backseat. Pete said Tuesday that Peterson immediately promised each woman $1 million if they did not tell police about the incident.

Pete did not initially report the shooting. On Tuesday, Pete repeated her assertion that she did not feel comfortable talking to the LAPD, especially in summer 2020 in the wake of the killings of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor.

“At the time, we are at the height of police brutality ... I felt like if I said ‘This man has just shot me,’ they might shoot first and ask questions later,” Pete said.

Pete also noted that “in the Black community, in my community, it’s not really acceptable to be cooperating with police officers.” She ultimately reported the attack days later and then, in an Instagram live video the next month, publicly accused Peterson of shooting her.

Supporters rally in support of Megan Thee Stallion outside of the courthouse in Los Angeles.
(Jason Armond / Los Angeles Times)

Peterson’s defense attorney, George Mgdesyan, has said the case is about “jealousy” and suggested the fight in the car was between a highly intoxicated Pete and Harris. While Mgdesyan has not flat out said Harris fired the weapon — which has been a popular theory among Peterson’s most ardent supporters — he has contended his client’s DNA was not found on the weapon used in the attack.


Mgdesyan spent more than two hours cross-examining Pete on Tuesday, hunting for inconsistencies between statements she made to police and prosecutors and in an interview with Gayle King earlier this year. The attorney repeatedly raised the fact that Pete lied about the nature of her relationship with Peterson to authorities and reporters until admitting on the stand Tuesday that they had been “intimate.”

“How could I share my body with someone who would shoot me?” Pete asked, saying she was too embarrassed to reveal their interactions.

It remains unclear if Peterson will testify in the trial, which is expected to last about eight days. He did not look at Pete when she entered the courtroom but seemed to be taking detailed notes as she testified. Outside court, he has looked jovial while playing with his young son, flanked by a small group of supporters.

Mgdesyan also sought to undercut Pete’s description of the exact moment she was shot. While Pete testified she heard Peterson shout “dance, bitch!” and turned around to see him holding a gun, Mgdesyan pointed to prior police interviews where Pete either said that she didn’t realize she’d been shot or that she had her back turned to the gunfire, questioning how she could possibly have identified Peterson as the gunman.

Pete also spoke about how the shooting had ruined her relationship with Harris, who is expected to testify later this week. Harris supposedly met up with Peterson in the days after the shooting, which Pete took as a “betrayal.” The two have not spoken since 2020, Pete said. Prosecutors plan to call Harris to corroborate a text message she sent identifying Peterson as the shooter.

A small group of demonstrators holding signs reading “I Stand With Megan” stood near the Temple Street entrance to the courthouse, where Pete arrived shortly before 9 a.m. and entered the Hall of Justice.


Jaki Murillo, a youth mentor with the Young Women’s Freedom Center, said she felt the need to show up Tuesday because of what she sees as male hip-hop artists’ frustrating refusal to believe Pete.

“We’re here because a lot of Black and Brown women are asked twice, not once,” when they make domestic violence allegations, Murillo said.

Murillo said she has been inspired by Pete’s decision to speak out against Peterson and press charges despite the pushback against her in the hip-hop industry.

“That’s why I respect her. She’s still going through with this after all that,” Murillo said. “She gives other girls hope to speak up.”

On the stand Tuesday, Pete constantly raised the idea that reporting Peterson had damaged her career. The incident occurred not long after she released a remix of the track “Savage” with Beyonce, an accomplishment that was quickly overshadowed by the shooting.

“This whole situation in the industry is like a big boys club,” she testified. “Like I’m telling on one of y’all friends, now you’re all about to hate me.”


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