Thursday, June 08, 2017

Observatory North Park: Fight Breaks Out as XXXTentacion Sucker Punched During Performance

Apparently the Observatory North Park was quite the scene on Wednesday night as headlining performer XXXTentacion was sucker punched on stage while performing. According to various accounts on social media, the alleged perpetrator was San Diego based rapper Rob $tone (or someone from his crew. Apparently they've had a beef brewing for quite some time.

The Observatory in mellower times

I was not at this show. Several people reached out to me on social media so I thought I'd reiterate that my employment at the venue ended in October 2016. I very much frequent the venue and I will continue to do so, but only in the capacity of a fan and photographer, and occasionally to sell merch when requested.

If you've been to a show at the venue, you know that security is very tight, as aggressive as TSA in a lot of ways. They're strict about all items coming into the venue, all the way down to lighters and pens. There is an armed San Diego Police Department officer at every show the venue holds. Still, and why when I worked there I often argued security was over the top, the inconveniences in time don't really prevent incidents from occurring, and in my if-I-ran-a-venue beliefs, I'm for open cameras, a quick bag check, and treating adults like adults.

It isn't clear if the perpetrator was, in fact, Rob $tone. It also isn't entirely clear if reports of a stabbing in the venue are accurate (or even connected to what happened onstage). What is known is that this tour is supposed to play at the Observatory Santa Ana on Thursday night, and the strongest message that could be sent would be to make a public statement, cancel the show, and ban all artists involved from ever playing either venue again. The money isn't worth it. It is the Observatory's duty to set the tone for their expectations of artist and fan behavior and not doing so sends a message, at best, that this is glossed over as a random incident and at worst, that this behavior is totally acceptable and will be tolerated. It is an invitation for escalation and destruction, and in my opinion, not making an official statement and keeping Thursday night's show would be a grave mistake.

Coverage of the incident:

NBC San Diego

Hip-Hop DX


Fox 5

SD Union Tribune


Statement from Councilman Chris Ward:

Last night's dramatic episode at the Observatory in North Park is obviously unacceptable from a public safety perspective, and I commend our police officers for their quick action to prevent circumstances from getting even worse. The incident also underscores the ongoing tensions between North Park's nightlife and surrounding neighbors. The community cannot be expected to sacrifice basic standards of public health and safety, and we must critically reevaluate our approach to maintaining a workable balance that keeps North Park such a great place to live and visit.
I will be meeting with SDPD, management at the Observatory, and community members to make sure all necessary safety protocols are in place to prevent this from happening again.

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