Video has surfaced of Queens of the Stone Age frontman Josh Homme deliberately kicking a female photographer in the head during a Saturday night holiday concert in L.A., hosted by local alt-rock radio station KROQ.
On Sunday, the photographer, Chelsea Lauren, uploaded this video of the incident to Instagram, taken from the other side of the stage. You can clearly see Homme walk across the stage past Lauren, and then start to walk back, before turning to face her. Lauren described the moment to Variety: “The next thing I know his foot connects with my camera and my camera connects with my face, really hard.” Homme continued performing. Lauren said, “I was startled, I kind of stopped looking at him, I just got down and was holding my face because it hurt so badly.”
Later, Homme also cut the side of his head onstage with a blade of some sort, making himself bleed.
Because Lauren was photographing Homme onstage at that very moment, she also has photos of Homme approaching her, where you can see him with one leg back, preparing to kick her. She posted these to Instagram the day after the concert. In one, Homme can be seen smiling:
Initially, Homme released the following statement to Variety, saying he thought he kicked over “lighting and equipment” and didn’t realize Lauren was there:
“Last night, while in a state of being lost in performance, I kicked over various lighting and equipment on our stage,” the statement reads. “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.”
But then, Homme published a video to the Queens of the Stone Age Twitter account, in which he further apologized: “I don’t have any excuse or reason to justify what I did. I was a total dick. I’m truly sorry, and I hope you’re okay,” he said. “I’m gonna have to figure out some stuff, I think.”
According to Variety, Lauren had to go to the hospital later that night, and is planning to file a police report after speaking to a social worker who saw the video.
Just three months ago, Homme told NME in a cover story interview that he hates watching people get bullied at his shows, and takes it upon himself to stand up for them. This might have sounded commendable, but in his explanation, Homme reveals that he realizes just how much power he can wield on stage, and that it can turn himself into a bully, too:
“Once in Holland, I think it was the Lowlands Festival, I saw a guy punching a girl in the face, right by the front row... My whole life, I hate watching people get bullied and so, in a manner of speaking, you turn and you try to bully the bully. I have done that many times. I’m the only one with a mic so I think sometimes it perhaps looks like I’m bullying somebody – and I actually am.”
On Saturday night, Lauren also said she was planning to go back to the KROQ show on Sunday, to shoot the rest of the lineup. She hasn’t posted any photos from that concert so far on her Instagram. In the caption of her last post, which came on Sunday, Lauren said no one from Queens of the Stone Age had reached out to her yet.