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Celebrity Slam - A swift kick

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Here at Celebrity Slam, we don’t need much of a reason to take a famous person to task. The spotlight-seekers out there have a tendency to engage in all manner of idiocy, so there’s usually plenty to choose from. It’s dealer’s choice, really. 

Sometimes, we get nitpicky and deride someone for something that, in the grand scheme of things, just isn’t that big of a deal. And sometimes, a famous person will do something genuinely terrible to capture our attention.

This week’s story very much falls in the latter category.

Josh Homme is the lead singer for the rock group Queens of the Stone Age. The band was performing as part of L.A. radio station KROQ’s annual Christmas concert on December 9. And in the midst of the set, Homme took it upon himself to kick a photographer in the face.

Yeah. Right in the face. As deliberate as deliberate can be.

The photographer’s name is Chelsea Lauren; she works for Shutterstock. She was in the pit, shooting the show, when Homme – very deliberately, she claims – struck her. She returned to the press room briefly after the incident before returning to the pit to photograph the subsequent bands. After that, it was off to the emergency room at Cedars-Sinai.

For his part, Homme released a statement the next day in which he claimed that the whole thing was an accident.

“Last night, while in a state of being lost in performance, I kicked over various lighting and equipment on our stage. Today it was brought to my attention that this included a camera held by photographer Chelsea Lauren. I did not mean that to happen and I am very sorry. I would never intentionally cause harm to anyone working at or attending one of our shows and I hope Chelsea will accept my sincere apology.”

Spoiler alert: she doesn’t.

Perhaps the biggest issue with Homme’s statement is the video evidence of the incident. While one can argue that video can be a bit misleading, it certainly looks as though Homme legitimately goes out of his way to make sure that he kicks Lauren in the face.

(All this leaves aside the rest of the evening’s nonsense. Homme apparently cursed out the evening’s headliner and insulted the audience. He also invited the audience to take their pants off and said that he wanted to “give you all a night you’ll never remember.” He also went full-on pro wrestler, blading himself to cause his forehead to bleed just minutes after the face kick. Big night for Josh Homme.)

Here’s the thing – you can apologize all you want. You can refer to this incident as accidental until you’re blue in the face. But you absolutely meant to kick that woman. No one can watch that video and genuinely think otherwise. Sure, you might be able to find an interpretation that gives you some modicum of cover, but it’s all about CYA. You did that, Josh Homme. And you meant to.

The notion of someone trying to hide behind this kind of horses—t swept up in the moment excuse is just pitiful. You might be a talented musician, but getting “lost in performance” doesn’t give you carte blanche to engage in whatever jackhole actions you think will somehow enhance your rock star cred. Using your status as an “artist” to retroactively explain asinine behavior doesn’t really work anymore, dude. You’re going to have to own this.

For what it’s worth, someone clearly told Homme that his “apology” was insufficient; he later posted a video on Instagram that accepted a bit more responsibility: “I don’t have any excuse or reason to justify what I did … I am truly sorry and I hope you’re okay. I’ve made a lot of mistakes in my life and last night was one of them.”

That’s better, but generally, the first response to something like this is the more honest one. Homme is clearly in damage control mode after realizing that maybe people won’t accept that his artistic temperament justifies his idiotic actions.

We’re all for rocking hard here at Celebrity Slam, but there’s a line that shouldn’t ever be crossed. Josh Homme crossed it. Not only that, but he justified before he apologized. He might be a Queen of the Stone Age, but he’s definitely King of the A-Holes.

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