Footage has emerged of Queens of the Stone Age frontman Josh Homme violently kicking a female photographer in the face at a Christmas concert in Los Angeles on Saturday.
Chelsea Lauren, a photographer for Shutterstock, had to spent the night in the emergency room after the incident, and as of Sunday night was still in pain.
“My neck is sore, my eyebrow bruised and I’m a bit nauseas,” she wrote on Instagram. “The doctor released me early in the morning.”
Footage of the incident – which occurred at LA radio station KROQ‘s annual Acoustic Christmas show – shows Homme strutting past Lauren on stage, before swinging back to kick away her camera.
“Josh was coming over and I was pretty excited, I’ve never actually photographed Queens Of The Stone Age before, I was really looking forward to it. I saw him coming over and I was shooting away,” she told Variety.
“The next thing I know his foot connects with my camera and my camera connects with my face, really hard. He looked straight at me, swung his leg back pretty hard and full-blown kicked me in the face. He continued performing, I was startled, I kind of stopped looking at him, I just got down and was holding my face because it hurt so badly.”
She says the kick was “obviously very intentional”.
Homme disputes this, claiming the kick was an accident in a statement released on Sunday.
“Last night, while in a state of being lost in performance, I kicked over various lighting and equipment on our stage,” he said. “Today it was brought to my attention that this included a camera held by photographer Chelsea Lauren. I did not mean for 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.”
Minutes after the incident, Lauren said he took out what appeared to be a knife and cut his own forehead (a stunt known in the wrestling world as ‘blading’), dripping blood onto the stage for the rest of the performance. He also sledged the night’s headlining act, Muse (“Fuck Muse!”) and asked everyone to take their pants off. It’s not known if he was under the influence of drugs or alcohol, or is just an incredibly weird unit.
“Here are three images,” Lauren wrote on Instagram, posting photos of Homme from the performance. “Two of them as Josh looked at me, smiled and then kicked me. The other one is later after he cut his own face with a knife. I was in the pit in tears – and he just stared at me smiling.”
She continued: “Assault in any form is not okay, no matter what the reasoning,” Alcohol and drugs are no excuse. I was where I was allowed to be, I was not breaking any rules. I was simply trying to do my job.
“I hold nobody accountable for this but Josh himself. KROQ has nothing to do with this and I will always support them. The irony is someone had thrown an ice cube on to the very slick catwalk before the QOTSA set. I was afraid that one of the band members might slip and hurt themselves so, when the lights went dark, I used my arm to wipe down the runway so nobody would hurt themselves.”
She says that, at the time of the post, nobody from QOTSA had reached out to her. She told Variety that she plans to file a police report.