Britney Spears' long history in Las Vegas added another chapter, but this is one no one saw coming. On July 5, 2023, the pop star was allegedly slapped by a member of NBA player Victor Wembanyama's security team outside Catch restaurant inside the Aria hotel. Pretty much everyone agrees on that. However, the involved parties and eyewitnesses can't agree on much else, including whether or not Britney was knocked to the ground. Although no charges will be filed, this is still the ultimate he said-she said-he said story.
Then came the video: On July 7, TMZ obtained footage of the incident that supports Britney's version of events. Do you agree?
Find out what happened via the words of Victor, Britney and her husband, Sam Asghari, police and even an eyewitness…
Nearly a week after the incident, Britney Spears heard some pundit saying she "deserved to be smacked" because security was "doing their job and protecting their client." On July 11, she issued a response. "I've been with the most famous people in the world. NSYNC at one time, girls would, like, literally throw themselves at them. On my way into the place, I was knocked down by, like, three 12-year-olds trying to get my picture. My security, not one time, touched them or even came near them," she said in an Instagram video. "Point being is I didn't appreciate people saying I deserved to be hit because no woman ever deserves to be hit. I simply tapped him on the back. I was backhanded… I did get an apology at my table 30 minutes later, but I have yet to receive a public apology."
Asked about the incident while at basketball practice, Victor Wembanyama — the No. 1 overall pick for the San Antonio Spurs in 2023 — said, "Something did happen a little bit when I was walking with some security of the [San Antonio Spurs] to some restaurant. We were in the hall. There were a lot of people calling me, obviously. One person was calling me but … I couldn't stop. That person grabbed me from behind. I didn't see what happened because I was walking straight, but that person grabbed me from behind, not on my shoulder. I just know that security pushed her away. I don't know with how much force though, but security pushed her away. I didn't stop to look. I kept walking and enjoyed a nice dinner."
Did he know that person in question was Britney Spears? "Actually I didn't know for a couple hours," he said. "When I came back to the hotel.. I thought it was no big deal… Turns out it was Britney Spears, but I didn't know because I never saw her face. I just kept walking straight."
In a lengthy Instagram post shared on July 6, Britney Spears wrote, "Traumatic experiences are not new to me and I have had my share fair of them. I was not prepared for what happened to me last night. 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 [to] off my face. 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.
"This story is super embarrassing to share with the world but it's out there already. However, I think it's important to share this story and to 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. I cherish the tremendous support I am receiving at the moment. Thank you to the Las Vegas PD and the detectives for their support.
"I also don't appreciate nor do I think this is a laughing matter. Watching the player smile and laugh was cruel and demoralizing with the situation that took place. I am 5'3 and he's 7'4…"
Britney Spears' husband, Sam Asghari shared this statement on his Instagram Story on July 6: "I am opposed to violence in any form, especially without justification in the defense of yourself or someone else who is unable to defend themselves," he wrote. "Self-defense can be unavoidable, but the defense of any woman, especially my wife, is not debatable. I consider my reaction subdued considering what occurred, and I hope the man in question learns a lesson and changes his disregard for women."
In a followup post, Sam, who was present when the incident occurred, wrote, "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 @wemby. The blame should fall on the coward who did this, the people who hired him without proper vetting, and a systematic culture of disregard for women within sports and entertainment. I can't imagine a scenario where an unarmed female fan showing any kind of excitement or appreciation for a celebrity would cause her to be physically assaulted, much less being hit in the face for tapping someone on the shoulder. The changes needed will have to come from the top, and I look forward to those changes."
Police made no arrests and issued no citations but told USA Today, "At approximately 11 p.m., LVMPD officers responded to a property in the 3700 block of Las Vegas Boulevard regarding a battery investigation." The statement didn't mention Britney Spears' name. On July 7, police said "no charges will be filed."
Witness Brian Grajales described the incident in detail to TMZ: "Wemby was walking into ARIA heading to Catch when there was a fan who afterward we found out was Britney Spears was approaching him with a British accent saying, 'Excuse me, sir, excuse me, sir!' She just kept trying to go towards him when eventually he was heading with his entourage into the restaurant, into Catch, that's when Britney infiltrated her way into the circle and that's when one of his bodyguards gave her a backhand slap across the face.
"She was approaching him, like I said, [in] a British accent saying, 'Excuse me, sir, excuse me, sir!' and I guess trying to get his attention for possibly a picture but when they walked right into the Catch restaurant, that's when she leaned in and got her way into this circle and started to put her hand on his back shoulder or his back — he's pretty tall, so towards his back — and that's when the bodyguard just turned around, slapped her face, and knocked off her sunglasses… You saw the hand, but you also heard the slap.
"At that point there was a lot of commotion with people in the way but I don't recall seeing her falling to the ground, but just sort of go the side and hunch over.
"Victor just walked right in and kept going. A couple people stayed behind to check on her. I'm telling you, they didn't know it was Britney, but just to restrain this person from getting any closer. That's when afterwards they tried to sort of walk her out of the restaurant. She screamed while using a British accent, that's what she was using the whole time, 'This is f****** America.'"