Stomp! Matisyahu nails a woman in the face at concert

Dec 23, 2011 at 4:45 p.m. ET

Rapper Matisyahu is under fire today for getting violent with a female photographer at a concert -- and his so-called apology sounds a lot more like an excuse.

Wow, take the beard off a guy and all bets are off. Just weeks after shedding his religious beard and hair, rapper Matisyahu went a very unspiritual route and stomped a female photographer in the face at a concert Wednesday night because he found her to be "distracting."


The shutterbug, Rebecca Smeyne, wrote about the incident on Twitter.

"I was just attacked by mAtisyahu calling cops pressing charges. Wtf! He kicked me in face and broke my camera!!!!!" she tweeted Wednesday night from the rapper's Brooklyn show.

Not to worry, his peeps quickly paid her off -- although she said she can still file a report with cops.

"I'm ok; after cops showed, matisyahu's manager, who witnessed the incident, gave me a fat stack of cash to cover damages. Happy Hanukkah!" she later wrote.

That started a Twitter spat between the two. Matisyahu responded, "Sorry about last night. I totally snapped. I wouldn't call it a kick, more like stepping into the crowd and being that you've shot so many shows you should know how distracting a huge flash in your face is."

"Seemed like you were there everywhere I turned with that flash. Next time be more sensitive to the performer."

Smeyne responded, "I wasn't even in the front row and as you can see in the photos I wasn't close to you at all most of the time."

Smeyne explained what happened in greater detail to

"After 12 flash shots over a few minute [sic] period (the camera gives me this data), Matisyahu stepped toward me, off the stage," she wrote. "The person in front of me moved and the next thing I knew Matisyahu's foot was on my face and I fell to the ground. At first I assumed he was trying to crowdsurf, that he wasn't deliberately trying to step on me. But when I got up, he was in the middle of the audience. When I turned to look at him, he charged at me and attempted to forcefully wrestle the camera away from me. I had the camera strap wrapped around my wrist several times, and I held the body tightly with both hands. Finally, he ripped the external flash off the top of the camera, leaving wires exposed. Suffice to say, this is not an inexpensive piece of equipment, and he had clearly damaged it deliberately."

The journalist explained that neither the venue nor Matisyahu's people had any flash restrictions in place.

The rapper has issued a formal apology.

"I regret what transpired when I tried to remove the camera from the photographer's hands last night. As an artist on stage, it is very distracting and disorienting to have a camera flashing in your face for an extended period of time. I reacted impulsively out of frustration and for that I apologize," he said.

Image courtesy Johnny Louis/