NEW YORK -- MTV pulled Nas' new video for "Hate Me Now" off the
air Thursday, after the rapper's manager was assaulted by three men --
reportedly including rapper Sean "Puffy" Combs -- in his Manhattan office,
according to police and the cable network.
Police spokesperson Jerry Varson said Friday (April 16) that the beating
of Steven Stoute, which police are investigating, took place for
"unknown reasons" and the suspects remain unidentified. But the New
York Daily News quoted unnamed sources identifying one of the
assailants as superstar rapper/producer Combs, and explaining that Combs
was upset with the video, in which he appears.
Representatives of Combs' Bad Boy Entertainment and Nas' label, Columbia,
could not be reached for comment at press time.
Combs -- performer of such hits as "I'll Be Missing You" and "All About
the Benjamins," and the producer of tracks by artists ranging from Mariah
Carey to Mase -- appeared on camera on the local 24-hour cable news
station NY1 to deny participating in the attack. "I heard that rumor,
too," Combs said in the interview, which NY1 aired Friday. "I don't even
know how it got started."
The "Hate Me Now" video, which debuted Thursday afternoon on the MTV
show "Total Request Live," stars Nas as a Christ-like figure who is
crucified and stoned. Combs reportedly is depicted as being crucified
Hype Williams directed the clip, which begins with a disclaimer saying
Nas and Combs do not intend to defame Jesus Christ.
MTV spokesperson Greg Baldwin said the network pulled the video at the
request of both Bad Boy Entertainment and Columbia Records, but did not
explain the labels' unusual action.
"We are awaiting the arrival of a new video that has been approved by
both parties," Baldwin said.
"Hate Me Now" is from Nas' third album, I Am ..., which debuted
this week at #1 on the Billboard 200 albums chart, having sold
470,941 copies its first week in stores, according to SoundScan.
Stoute, 28, who is an executive at Interscope Records in addition to
managing Nas (born Nasir Jones) and who is referred to as Steven "The
Commissioner" Stoute on the album sleeve, was attacked in his Interscope
office by three men who then fled, according to Varson. The attack
occurred about 90 minutes after the video's premiere.
He was treated at nearby St. Clare's Hospital for an arm injury and
released, Varson said.
An officer at the New York City Police Department's 18th Precinct, which
is investigating the case, declined to give further information. "We
don't know anything for sure," said the officer, who declined to
(Senior Writer Gil Kaufman contributed to this report.)