Britney Spears, ‘back handed in the face’ by Wembanyama’s security, wants a public apology

A split image of Victor Wembanyama wearing a basketball jersey; and Britney Spears posing in a red dress
Britney Spears has responded to Victor Wembanyama’s remarks regarding an incident involving the NBA star’s security detail.
(Michel Euler; Jordan Strauss / Associated Press)

Singer Britney Spears has issued a statement after a member of basketball player Victor Wembanyama‘s security detail allegedly struck her in the face Wednesday in Las Vegas.

The “Hold Me Closer” artist posted a lengthy message Thursday on her Instagram story recounting the incident, denouncing the security guard’s alleged behavior and responding to Wembanyama’s own account of what happened.

“Traumatic experiences are not new to me and I have had my fair share of them,” Spears wrote. “I was not prepared for what happened to me last night.”


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In her Instagram post, Spears said she recognized Wembanyama — the 19-year-old, 7-foot-4 phenom who was the No. 1 overall pick of this year’s NBA draft — in the lobby of her hotel before heading to a restaurant at the Aria Resort & Casino, where she saw him again. The second time she spotted him, Spears said, she “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,” she continued. “His security guard back handed me in the face without looking back, in front of a crowd. Nearly knocking me down and causing my glasses [to fall] off my face.”

Wembanyama remembered the encounter differently while speaking Thursday with KENS 5 reporter Nate Ryan.

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“That person grabbed me from behind — not on my shoulder, she grabbed me from behind,” he said.

“I just know the security pushed her away. I don’t know with how much force, but security pushed her away. I didn’t stop to look so I could walk in and enjoy a nice dinner.”

The French athlete added that he did not realize at the time that the person trying to get his attention was Spears.


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“I am aware of the players statement where he mentions ‘I grabbed him from behind’ but I simply tapped him on the shoulder,” Spears claimed in her statement.

The person accused of striking Spears is Damian Smith, director of team security for the San Antonio Spurs, which drafted Wembanyama last month.

After telling her side of the story, Spears denounced Smith’s alleged actions and urged “people in the public eye to set an example and treat all people with respect.”

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“I get swarmed by people all the time,” the Grammy winner said. “In fact, that night. I was swarmed by a group of at least 20 fans. My security team didn’t hit any of them.”

TMZ reported Thursday that Smith apologized to Spears and she accepted. But the pop musician said she was awaiting a public apology from Wembanyama, “his security or their organization.”

“This story is super embarrassing to share with the world but [it’s] out there already,” she added.


The “Toxic” hitmaker filed a police report Wednesday in Las Vegas. In a statement provided Thursday to the Los Angeles Times, the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department said, “The incident has been documented ... and no arrest or citations have been issued. No further details will be provided at this time.”

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In a separate statement, Spears’ husband, Sam Asghari, castigated Smith but defended Wembanyama on Thursday. Asghari reportedly was with Spears when she approached Wembanyama that night.

“The violent behavior of an out-of-control security guard should not cast a shadow on the accomplishment of a great young man on the rise,” Asghari wrote.

“The blame should fall on the coward who did this, the people who hired him without proper vetting, and a systemic culture of disregard for women within sports and entertainment.”