Britney Spears has been pictured moments before being ‘slapped in the face’ by an overzealous security guard when she tried to snap a photo with NBA star Victor Wembanyama.
The star, 41, was seen approaching the NBA star as she arrived at Catch restaurant in the ARIA Hotel, Las Vegas on Wednesday night, supported by her husband Sam Asghari, 29 while Wembanyama, 19, is seen walking ahead with alleged attacker Damian Smith.
An additional photo shows Wembanyama and Smith walking together moments before the alleged incident.
Spears is said to have approached him in an attempt to take a photo – which is when the team’s Director of Security Smith is said to have struck Spears in the face while trying to defend the sports star.
According to TMZ, the popstar was thrown to the ground by the force of the blow, which also knocked off her glasses.
An eyewitness has also claimed Spears approached Wembanyama and said in a British accent: ‘Excuse me sir, excuse me, sir’ before screaming ‘This is f*****g America!’ after the alleged assault as Victor walked into the restaurant.
Spears’ security team has reportedly since filed a police report against the security guard in question, who has been identified as Smith – accusing him of battery.
A law enforcement source told the publication Smith hit Britney’s hand and her hand then hit her face, with the eyewitness countering that by stating he saw Smith strike her.
Moment: Britney Spears has been pictured moments before being ‘slapped in the face by an overzealous security guard when she tried to snap a photo with NBA star Victor Wembanyama
Sighted: An additional photo shows Wembanyama walking together with Spears’ alleged attac ker Damian Smith (in white)
DailyMail.com has reached out to representatives for Spears and Wembanyama.
It’s understood that the incident between Spears and Smith occurred after she approached the teenage basketball star and tapped him on the back in an attempt to get his attention, with reports suggesting that the security guard ‘instantly backhanded’ the singer when he saw her touching Wembanyama.
‘Britney saw Victor and walked up to tap him on the back to ask for a photo,’ a source told Us Weekly of the altercation.
‘His security was being mobbed with fans and he turned around trying to push Britney off and hit her in the face, knocking off her glasses.’
Following the shocking altercation, Spears is said to have got back on her her feet and returned to her table while staying composed.
Smith reportedly approached her table shortly afterwards in order to offer an apology.
‘You understand how it is when you’re being swarmed by fans,’ he allegedly told her.
Sources also said Smith claimed he didn’t know who Britney was when he saw her trying to get Wembanyama’s attention – and that he thought she was just another fan.
Violent eruption: The pop superstar reportedly approached the NBA star (seen on Wednesday) when a member of his security allegedly smacked her in the face
Coupled up: Spears had been enjoying some down time in Las Vegas at the Catch restaurant in the ARIA Hotel around 8:30 p.m. with husband Sam Asghari and two other people
Unexpected outcome: Spears, who is a fan of Wembanyama (seen Wednesday in Vegas), spotted him and went over to tap him on the shoulder to ask for a photo. That’s when the Spurs’ Director of Team Security Damian Smith allegedly backhanded her across the face
Shocking force: Smith reportedly hit the pop star so hard that she fell to the ground and her glasses flew off her face. He later came to her table to apologize, which she reportedly accepted; Wembanyama seen Wednesday in Las Vegas
Getting police involved: Despite Spears reportedly accepting Smith’s apology, her security team then met with him and afterward filed a police report alleging battery, though police reportedly believe he was only trying to protect the Spurs star
Rising star: Wembanyama, a French basketball player, is considered one of the most promising new stars in the sport, and he was selected by the Spurs first overall in the 2023 draft; seen June 22 in Brooklyn
At the time, Spears seemingly accepted his apology, but things appear to have taken a turn for the severe when her own security team got involved.
They reportedly discussed the incident with Smith, and after chatting with him decided to file a police report with the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department, accusing him of battery.
It’s unclear if Spears was involved in her security team’s decision to file the police report, however TMZ reported that Vegas police were due to meet with the popstar today in order to discuss the incident.
Law enforcement sources initially told the publication that the case was not being investigated as a criminal matter, claiming that officers had determined that Smith was just attempting to defend Wembanyama, rather than trying to hurt Spears.
However, the outlet later issued an update stating that it had received ‘contrary information about the police investigation from a source high up in the Metro PD’, who claimed that the cops were pursuing a ‘criminal investigation’ and that they were ‘taking the incident as serious as a heart attack’.
The source added that the case was ‘likely to be referred to the DA’.
Wembanyama, a French basketball player, is considered one of the most promising new stars in the sport, and he was selected by the Spurs in the 2023 draft.
The 7ft 5in center was the first overall pick after spending the last few years playing professionally in France.