A Punchup At A Wedding
The pop singer and British comedian are set to exchange vows Saturday at a resort near an Indian tiger reserve at Ranthambhore National Park in Rajasthan, India.
Although a London magazine has been given exclusive coverage rights to the wedding – therefore banning other photographers and journalists from the resort – a number of photographers were at the Indian tiger reserve taking pictures of Brand on Friday.
AP photographer Mustafa Quraishi said photographers from AP, Reuters, Agence France-Presse and the Hindustan Times newspaper were snapping photos while driving about 330 feet behind two jeeps. One vehicle was carrying Brand, an unidentified woman, an unidentified man and two children. The second was carrying a bodyguard in addition to a man later described by police as Brand’s friend and wedding guest.
According to Quraishi, the second jeep stopped and the wedding guest came up to the photographers’ jeep, punched the driver in the face and grabbed the vehicle’s keys.
After Quraishi jumped out to try and get the keys back, the man punched the photographer, broke his glasses, smashed and took his camera flash, and then cut him on his arm. When two other photographers got out of the vehicle to help Quraishi, the man and the bodyguard began hitting them. One photographer started bleeding from his head.
The photographers said Brand watched the assault go down.
The wedding guest and bodyguard drove off, leaving the photographers in the park without their car keys. Quraishi noted the park isn’t the safest place to be stranded since it’s home to 27 free-roaming wild tigers in addition to leopards, wild boards, hyenas and sloth bears.
The photographers filed a police complaint and have requested a written apology. Park rangers later got their car keys back from the guard’s driver. According to Quraishi, the guard and wedding guest were summoned for questioning by police.
This wasn’t Brand’s first incident involving violence and photographers. The comedian was arrested at a Los Angeles airport Sept. 17 for allegedly assaulting a paparazzo. A spokesman for the Los Angeles city attorney’s office said Brand is scheduled to discuss the case with a prosecutor in November.
Click here for the AP story.