Akon has been charged with a misdemeanor count of endangering the welfare of a minor and second-degree harassment in connection with a controversial concert this summer in Fishkill, New York, according to the Poughkeepsie Journal. He is reportedly due to be arraigned in a local court on Monday.
During the show, which took place on June 3 and was caught on fans’ cell phone cameras, Akon allegedly threw a 15-year-old fan into the crowd. According to the Journal, a small object sailed by Akon’s shoulder as he was about to start performing a song onstage, which prompted him to say, “Oh, wait a minute. What was that?” He then urged the crowd to “point him out, point him out. Who is he?”
Audience members identified the alleged culprit, after which a security guard asked Akon if he wanted the boy brought onstage. Akon responded, “So go get him. Bring him out to me.”
As the fan was brought to the stage, Akon removed his shirt and chain and then grabbed the boy, tossed him over his shoulder and threw him into the crowd, saying, “Now we can start the show, y’all ready.” A moment later, Akon looked down at the crowd and said, “He’s OK, he’s all right,” then shortly later chastised the audience for a perceived lack of support. “See, now you got me feeling by myself,” he said in the cell phone video footage. “I thought I had fans and support.” According to TMZ.com, after the child was thrown, he fell on another teen who later said she had been diagnosed with a concussion.
The Journal reported that the boy’s mother contacted authorities and gave them her son’s name, which has not been revealed. Police had been seeking the boy to see if he’d been injured in the incident and was interested in pressing charges. The Journal also said the uninjured boy refused medical treatment on site and left right after the incident.
Akon’s attorney subsequently released a statement proclaiming the singer’s innocence in the bizarre episode.
“Given the information that we have reviewed to date, it does not appear to us that Akon was involved in any criminal conduct whatsoever,” read a statement from the MC’s attorney, Benjamin Brafman. “We are prepared to fully cooperate with any law enforcement agency that may be investigating this incident. We are confident that after a thorough investigation it will be apparent that no criminal prosecution of Akon is warranted.”
The Fishkill incident wasn’t Akon’s only concert controversy this year, however. In May, he lost his Verizon tour sponsorship for aggressively randy onstage conduct with an underage girl. And in late October, his planned show at Atlanta’s Emory University was canceled after several people, including his drummer, were injured while setting up for the gig.