Some of today’s most popular musical artists have left their concerts with bruises and stitches this year due to unruly fans who have been hurling objects at them or rushing the stage while they’re trying to perform.
Country artist Kelsea Ballerini was struck in the face by a bracelet and left the stage for several minutes at her recent concert in Boise, Idaho. Harry Styles clutched his eye and walked offstage after being hit in the face with an object at his concert in Vienna, Austria. A concertgoer at one of Ava Max’s concerts rushed onstage and was able to smack the singer in the face before security grabbed him. Bebe Rexha was taken to the hospital in June and treated for injuries after someone threw a cellphone at her. And that’s just to name a few.
While there have always been overzealous fans, today’s culture experts suggest the trend has been exacerbated by several factors, including the rise of social media and the return from the COVID-19 lockdowns.
In an older era, female fans were known to throw lingerie at popular male artists. Nowadays, experts muse, it goes beyond just showing love to the artist onstage. Some are so desperate to go viral, they’re willing to cause harm to celebrities.
“In the old days, it wasn’t near as violent, like people used to throw their panties at Tom Jones on the stage,” Oxygen Financial CEO Ted Jenkin told Fox News Digital. “And now people are basically throwing hard objects like their phones, with the hope that… artists are basically going to take their phone and take a selfie, and then they can go viral.”
He suggested the return to public life after the coronavirus lock-downs could also be playing a part in the mayhem.
“Number one, I think people have a lot of – I would just call it post-pandemic aggression,” he said. “They haven’t been out of the house, a lot of people in three or four years to these types of events. People have not been in a concert with a lot of people and when they feel anonymous, they can do whatever it is they want when the crowds get rowdy, that’s what they feel like today.”
“What I’m noticing is the alarming trend toward a lack of boundaries,” comedian Karith Foster agreed. “I think we’ve been seeing a gradual decline of manners and polite behavior all around since coming back from the forced shutdowns caused by Covid. It’s literally like people have forgotten how to drive and how to behave. I’ve seen it personally on the roads and highways while driving and online in all the captured road rage incidents. We’re seeing it in these mass public gatherings like concerts where a mob mentality of the animalistic persuasion is more apt to occur.”
But Joe Germanotta, the father of superstar Lady Gaga, placed blame on the “copy cat” scenario.
“In my personal opinion, it’s a lot of copycat activity right now,” he told Fox News Digital. “And, you know, they’re increasing the vigilance of security. And I guess the best thing we can do is just wait it out.”
“The only other option is to, you know, start taking cell phones before you can enter the venue,” he added.
Nancy Grace, host of Fox Nation’s “Crime Stories with Nancy Grace,” said the trend “absolutely” has something to do with the country’s larger crime waves. There has been a steady stream of reports of retail theft and more in major cities in recent months.
“Up until now, such a thing would never have happened,” Grace told Fox News Digital in a recent interview. “But criminals know that not only will they not stay behind bars, they will gain fame from their act. And, you know, a certain subculture lauds that type of behavior. And they’ll get a light sentence, whenever the case does get processed. So really, they’ve got nothing to lose. And their momentary fame is just too much of a lure.”
“I think a lot of people are just seeing across America that they can be brazen, and they can break the law,” Jenkin said. “And yeah, maybe they’ll get arrested. Then again, maybe they won’t. And even if they do, so what? They’re going to basically be right back out doing whatever they want to do again… If you can become more famous on social media by having a video that goes viral because you were at somebody’s concert, certainly hurling your cell phone onstage might give you the opportunity to do that. And so people like that whole attention grabbing today, and that’s part of the reason they do it.”
“People always have a moment of self-reflection to say, will I get caught?” Jenkin added. “And when you watch people openly walk into a Walgreens and take $500 of merchandise and walk out and nothing happens to them, how bad is it going to be if you basically throw your phone on a stage?”
While he noted a few people have been arrested for assault for chucking items at singers, he predicted “nothing’s going to come of that” and the behavior will continue.
“I really believe that we’re we’re starting to move into society where people feel that there may not be consequences for their actions,” Jenkin said. “When you have that level of lawlessness, it’s only going to expand the box. It’s not going to decrease. It grows because people feel like there’s no boundaries. I just do what I want to do when I want to do it and how I want to do it without consequences.”
What needs to change?
“One prediction I would have is that more people, more artists may go the way of what Bruno Mars has done in his concerts, which is basically lock your phone up,” Jenkin mused. “And that’s exactly what they do. And enjoy the concert. That could be one avenue. Or eventually you’ve got to apply the law and hold people accountable… Until people realize it’s serious, of course it’s going to continue.”
“It’s going to continue this way until there’s a major backlash,” Grace said. “I don’t know what is going to trigger the backlash, but it is going to happen. And I know because history repeats itself, that whatever that trigger may be, it’s going to be bad. Until people – we all bear some responsibility. But jurisdictions vote in leaders that push this agenda. It’s their fault for voting them in, or not voting, and letting them walk in.”
Fox Digital asked Germanotta if he or Lady Gaga fear for her safety.
“We do not,” he said. “As I said, she’s got very loyal and loving fans. And now… the population or the demographic of her fans, you know, ranges.”
Of the nearly 200 concerts he’s attended with his daughter, Germanotta said he’s never witnessed anyone throw something that dangerous onstage. Often, he said, she’ll pick up letters that land onstage and read them aloud.
“They throw flowers on stage, they might throw a jacket and, you know, a handmade jacket or something on stage, bandanas,” he noted. “They throw letters… But there’s never been anything like a water bottle.”
Some artists have taken matters into their own hands. Adele, for instance, launched a preemptive strike into her Las Vegas audience.
“Have you noticed how people are like forgetting f—ing show etiquette in America, they’re just throwing s— on stage. Have you seen that?” she asked her audience while pacing the stage with a t-shirt cannon.
“I f—ing dare you. I dare you throw something at me,” she said, before firing a t-shirt into the crowd.
And when an audience member threw a drink at Cardi B last month while she was performing at Drai’s Beachclub in Las Vegas, the rapper threw her microphone in return. The city police have opened up a battery investigation into the artist.
For more Culture, Media, Education, Opinion, and channel coverage, visit foxnews.com/media.