More than a year after Akon hurled a 15-year-old boy off his stage, the law has finally caught up with him. Only in this case the law doesn’t seem to be too upset. The going rate for child-throwing seems to be $350, plus 65 hours of community service.
The incident took place on June 3 2007 in Fishkill, a small town in upstate New York. During a performance at Dutchess Stadium, Akon became irritated with the behaviour of a fan, Anthony C Smith, and thinking the 15-year-old had tossed something at him, picked him up and threw him from the stage into the crowd.
Showing a staggering ignorance of the incriminating power of YouTube, Akon pleaded innocent to charges of second-degree harassment and endangering the welfare of a minor. Meanwhile, dozens of concert-goers posted videos on the internet – with Akon’s mighty lob in full display.
The rapper appeared at the Fishkill courthouse yesterday in a grey suit and power-blue shirt. Pleading guilty to reduced charges, he accepted the $350 fine (£226) and agreed to spend 65 hours in anti-gang and anti-violence community work, which has to be completed by June 2009. Should Akon be arrested again in the next year, he will also have to reappear in Fishkill.
According to the Poughkeepsie Journal, the fan met Akon outside the courthouse. He walked up to the singer, shook his hand and said, “Thanks”. As Akon went to apologise, the boy’s father reportedly interrupted. “You threw my son off the stage,” he said, helpfully.
“We never had a chance to talk,” Akon replied to the teenager.
Reminds us again whose fault that was?