Reporter Says Two Members Of Wu-Tang Clan Punched Him

Ghostface Killah, U-God named in complaint; official at San Francisco venue says there was no fight.

SAN FRANCISCO — A reporter who was seeking an interview Saturday night with the Wu-Tang Clan's Ghostface Killah said a bodyguard for the rap group punched him in the mouth and Ghostface Killah and bandmate U-God joined in the beating.

Edward Cash Wallace, 24, an entertainment reporter for Pacific News Service, told police that the two rappers "punched him in the head several times," according to a San Francisco police report.

"I have no knowledge of this incident," a spokesperson for the band's label, Loud Records, who asked not to be identified, said on Tuesday. "We have no comment at this time."

Daniel Dedet, a San Francisco police inspector, said on Wednesday (Aug. 16) that police plan to investigate and, "We are waiting for Mr. Wallace to provide additional information."

Wallace, an entertainment reporter whose news service provides stories to California newspapers, said Ghostface Killah (born Dennis Coles) had promised him an interview before the Wu-Tang Clan performed Saturday night, opening a two-night stand at the Maritime Hall.

But when he pursued that interview after the show, in a loading area behind the theater, "I was manhandled by one of their bodyguards," Wallace said in a written statement. He identified the bodyguard to police as "Seven."

Moments later, Wallace said, Ghostface Killah and U-God (born Lamont Hawkins) joined in. He said the melee ended when an unidentified person pulled the rappers and the bodyguard away from him. He was treated at St. Mary's Hospital for a concussion and other minor injuries, according to a hospital discharge report.

Boots Hughston, Maritime Hall's president and promoter, said Wallace did not have authorization to talk to the band and was aggressive in trying to get an interview.

"The band told him multiple times to leave him alone," Hughston said in a statement. "While they were getting into the van, Wu-Tang bodyguards again told him to leave him alone. When he did not stop, a Wu-Tang bodyguard punched him in the mouth."

But, Hughston continued, "There was no fight, and none of Maritime Hall's security were involved."

Hughston said Wallace was punched once, but Wallace said he has an audio tape, which he brought along for potential interviews, that indicates "way more physical activity than one punch."

He also said he has proof, including an e-mail from a member of Maritime Hall's publicity department, that he was authorized to be backstage. He said he interviewed several members of Killarmy, an opening act for Wu-Tang that night, without incident.

"He was not approved by Wu-Tang or Maritime Hall for an interview," Hughston said.

Ghostface Killah served a four-month jail term in 1999 in New York, for attempted robbery.

In February, he released his second solo album, Supreme Clientele, which includes the songs "Nutmeg" (RealAudio excerpt) and "Child's Play" (RealAudio excerpt).

U-God released his first solo album, Golden Arms Redemption, in 1999. Ghostface Killah and other members of the Wu-Tang Clan appear on the album, which includes "Rumble" (RealAudio excerpt).

The full Wu-Tang Clan plan to release their third LP in October. It follows up Wu-Tang Forever (1997).

There has been a string of flare-ups between journalists and rap and rock musicians in recent years.

Jesse Washington, editor of the defunct Blaze magazine, claimed in 1998 that rapper/producer Deric "D-Dot" Angelettie and two other men attacked him after the magazine identified him as the supposedly anonymous Mad Rapper. But assault charges against Angelettie were dismissed after Washington refused to cooperate with prosecutors.

The same year, Spin executive editor Craig Marks said two associates of rock singer Marilyn Manson (born Brian Warner) attacked him backstage, and Manson threatened to kill him, because he was angry he wasn't pictured alone on a Spin cover. Manson's lawyer, Paul Cambria, said the two men briefly restrained Marks after he made a sudden move, and "it lasted two seconds."