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ON THE FRONT LINES: Concert attendees must be held accountable for throwing objects at artists

On the Front Lines

Cardi B recently went viral for throwing a microphone at a fan who splashed their drink on her during an on-stage performance, highlighting how to hold object-throwing fans accountable and protect artists.  – Photo by @j_blizzyy / TikTok

On Saturday, Cardi B was captured on video launching her microphone at a fan who decided to throw their drink at the rapper while she was performing "Bodak Yellow" on stage. Concertgoers chucking random objects at artists is nothing new, but no one in the industry has retaliated against this popular yet dangerous trend quite like Cardi B (at least as of late).

This kind of obnoxious behavior from audience members was already concerning, but Cardi B's reaction raises even more questions about what the music industry needs to do to protect musicians and prevent interactions between singers and concert attendees from escalating and becoming dangerous.

I do not blame Cardi B for standing up for herself. It is unfair to leave performers at the mercy of flying-object attacks and other attention-seeking spectacles from concert crowds, especially since we have already witnessed several instances of entitled fans failing to respect artists' boundaries.

Just earlier this month, a cellphone hit Drake’s wrist in the middle of his show in Chicago, and an unidentified object hit Harry Styles in the eye during his show in Vienna. And prior to this, a bag of ashes (allegedly those of a fan’s deceased mother) was thrown on stage during Pink!'s show in London just last month. 

These three artists represent very different genres of music but share one key thing in common: dedicated, if not overly obsessed, fan bases that occasionally cross a line. Sometimes, fans get carried away in the presence of stardom and forget that immature and violating theatrics should not be tolerated and should be held accountable even if the intention is not malicious. 

While musicians may instinctively want to take control of the situation and respond to an out-of-line fan, it sets a dangerous precedent to have artists fending for themselves as proven by the viral video of Cardi B. What started as a beverage being tossed onto an artist turned into a microphone being pelted into a crowd which easily could have injured innocent bystanders. 

If the music industry does not intervene to improve policies that protect artists and fans at concert venues, an already alarming situation will worsen.

Just to name a few especially spine-chilling examples from the past — singer Christina Grimmie was killed in 2016 by a fan-turned-stalker who shot her backstage during a meet and greet, and more recently, singer Bebe Rexha had to get stitches after a fan threw his phone at her eye because he thought it would be "funny."

It is clear that this situation has gone too far, but what can be done? 

For one, artists should not be encouraging this behavior and corporations should not be endorsing it. For example, after 21-year-old Veronica Correia tossed her bra on stage during Drake's show in Brooklyn, New York, Drake picked up the undergarment and said, "Damn. 36G? Locate this woman immediately."

Videos of Correia's lingerie-throwing stunt went viral, and Playboy ended up asking Correia if she would be interested in applying to become a model.

Correia is now officially a Playboy model, and some may think "good for her." But while I do respect Correia's confidence and commitment to body positivity, it is a slippery slope when artists and companies seemingly reward fans who engage in questionable object-throwing shenanigans.

There needs to be widespread and clearly defined accountability across the board. Some offenders do receive punishment for their behavior, like Bebe Rhexa’s phone-throwing culprit who was charged with assault. But even if object throwing does not result in injury, I think it is still important that fans are held accountable.

For one, individual concert venues could consider enforcing policies where any objects thrown on stage will be charged as vandalism, or perhaps the music industry could push for legislation to be passed where this would be considered true at all concert venues.

Additionally, concert venues should consider increasing the distance between the stage and the crowd so that it would be less likely for thrown objects to reach the artist and discourage fans from even trying.

While this may ruin the "intimacy" of concerts, fans need to know that there will be consequences for acting out of line, and the most important thing is that everyone is kept safe, including artists on stage.

To avoid less-fun regulations like this, fans really need to stick to making posters and enjoying the music. But realistically, the music industry and concert venues need to come up with some solutions before someone else gets seriously hurt.

Sara Eschleman is the opinions editor of The Daily Targum.

*Columns, cartoons and letters do not necessarily reflect the views of the Targum Publishing Company or its staff.

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