Police cut short an autograph session by Jessica Simpson Thursday after thousands mobbed a Boston-area Wal-Mart. The cops pulled the plug about a half-hour after Simpson arrived, saying the crowd posed a threat to public safety.
Three teens were arrested and charged with disorderly conduct and another was charged with assault and battery, according to the Danvers Police Department's chief of police. An officer was scratched in the face trying to arrest one female fan.
Wal-Mart employees and local police were expecting between 500 and 1,000 people at the signing, but were met with more than 5,000 fans instead. State police had to shut down a section of a nearby highway because of traffic jams.
Simpson was initially scheduled to sign some 300 autographs at the store in the Boston suburb of Danvers. But when she got there, fans swarmed her limo and crowded entrances and exits. Many stood in line for hours. About 100 fans even camped out the night before to guarantee themselves a chance to meet the singer. Wal-Mart employees found three fans hiding in the crafts department after closing the store in preparation for Simpson's arrival.
Police escorted Simpson out of the building after it became apparent that most fans wouldn't get inside. About 10 fans were being let into the store every 10 minutes.
"I want to thank all my fans in Danvers and Boston for coming to see me at the Danvers Wal-Mart yesterday," Simpson said in a statement Friday (March 5). "I am so sorry that I was not able to meet all of you. Given the large crowd, the police asked the store to shut down out of concern for your safety. I feel very blessed to have the love and support of my fans and hope to meet you all in the future."
Simpson is promoting the new, expanded version of In This Skin, which features bonus tracks and a DVD with memorable moments from the first season of "Newlyweds" (see "Jessica Simpson Plans Breathtaking In This Skin Re-Release").
Her four-city In This Skin promotional tour continued Friday with another autograph session at a Wal-Mart outside of Philadelphia. She's slated to appear at two more Wal-Marts in Dallas and Pasadena, California.
For a full-length feature on Jessica Simpson, check out "Jessica Simpson: The Innocent."