What to know ahead of Tory Lanez’s sentencing in Megan Thee Stallion’s shooting
Aug 4, 2023, 10:04 AM
(Photos by Amy Harris, left, Richard Shotwell/Invision/AP, File)
LOS ANGELES (AP) — Three years have passed since hip-hop superstar Megan Thee Stallion was shot multiple times by rapper Tory Lanez in Los Angeles following a pool party at the home of Kylie Jenner.
On Monday, Lanez is scheduled to be sentenced, following his December conviction on three felony charges. Here’s what you need to know about the case so far.
Tory Lanez, whose legal name is Daystar Peterson, is a Canadian artist who began releasing mixtapes in 2009 and saw a steady rise in popularity, moving on to major-label albums. The 31-year-old’s last album reached the top 10 on the Billboard 200 chart, and he was a featured artist on Jack Harlow’s No. 2 hit, “WHATS POPPIN.”
Megan Thee Stallion, now 28, was already a major rising star at the time of the shooting, and her prominence has surged since. The Houston-based rapper born Megan Pete won a Grammy for best new artist in 2021, and had No. 1 singles on the Billboard Hot 100 with her own song “Savage,” featuring Beyoncé, and as a guest on Cardi B’s “WAP.”
A Los Angeles jury found Lanez guilty of three felonies: assault with a semiautomatic firearm; having a loaded, unregistered firearm in a vehicle; and discharging a firearm with gross negligence.
Prosecutors are seeking a 13-year prison sentence and Lanez faces deportation to his native Canada.
“I suffered gunshot wounds, as a result of a crime that was committed against me and done with the intention to physically harm me,” Megan wrote on Instagram on July 15, 2020. “I’m incredibly grateful to be alive and that I’m expected to make a full recovery.”
At the time, police announced that officers responded to gunfire around 4:30 a.m. three days earlier, in the Hollywood Hills. They said a woman had been treated for a foot injury. Lanez was publicly identified and arrested on a concealed weapons charge, but not initially charged in the shooting.
Nearly two weeks later, Megan revealed in an Instagram Live video that she had been shot in both feet and had to get surgery. She named Lanez as the shooter in another Instagram Live video that September: “Yes … Tory shot me. You shot me and you got your publicist and your people going to these blogs lying,” Megan said, adding, “I didn’t tell the police nothing because I didn’t want us to get in no more trouble.”
Lanez was subsequently arrested on charges of assault with a semiautomatic firearm and carrying a loaded, unregistered firearm in a vehicle in early October of that year.
The day after Megan named him as the shooter, Lanez released his “Daystar” album with a track featuring lyrics that appeared to be aimed at Megan: “How the f— you get shot in your foot / don’t hit no bones or tendons.”
Once arrested, he posted bail at $190,000 and was ordered to surrender all weapons and not contact Megan. He pleaded not guilty in November 2020 but violated the protective order after appearing with rapper DaBaby during a Rolling Loud Miami festival set in July 2021, moments after Megan got off stage. His bail was increased to $250,000.
In April 2022, he was briefly jailed for sending tweets that appeared to target her, increasing his bail to $350,000. And in October 2022, Lanez was placed on house arrest until the case went to trial after allegedly attacking another musician, August Alsina, at a concert, violating his bail.
In December 2022, Megan testified in front of Lanez, stating that she left the party at Jenner’s house in an SUV with Lanez, his bodyguard, and her friend and assistant Kelsey Harris. She said she had an intimate relationship with Lanez, to the chagrin of Harris, who had a “crush” on the rapper. Harris and Megan got into an argument, which escalated and eventually led to Lanez and Megan disparaging each other’s careers. Megan exited the vehicle, she said, at which point Lanez began shooting at her feet and yelled, “Dance b—–!”
Lanez’s defense attorney George Mgdesyan said in his opening statement that there was no way Megan would have been able to identify the shooter because they were behind her. Harris testified that Lanez did not shoot Megan, but prosecutors presented an audio recording in which Harris was heard saying, “He was shooting the gun.” After the incident, Harris texted Megan’s manager, “Help. Tory shot meg. 911.” On the stand, Harris said she “wasn’t truthful” in the recording.
Prosecutor Alexander Bott argued that Megan had no reason to lie about domestic violence and subject herself to online vitriol. Mgdesyan argued that Harris was the shooter and Lanez had attempted to stop the altercation. He contended Megan was lying because the idea that Lanez shot her was less damaging to her public image than the idea that her friend would have shot her during an argument over a man.
Since the shooting, Megan has been the target of widespread misinformation and vitriol spread through social media and inflamed with each development. A lot of the abuse, experts say, can be attributed to misogynoir — a particular type of misogyny experienced by Black women.
Some of the hate was exacerbated by industry peers: Rappers Drake and 21 Savage targeted Megan by name in lyrics attempting to discredit her allegations. 50 Cent posted memes mocking her, likening the rapper to actor Jussie Smollett, who was convicted in 2021 for lying to police about a racist, homophobic attack.
Others have come to her defense — #MeToo founder Tarana Burke and U.S. Rep. Maxine Waters have also spoken out about violence against Black women and were among the signers of an open letter supporting Megan. The star herself wrote an op-ed in the New York Times calling for the protection of Black women.
As soon as Lanez’s conviction was read in court last December, he was taken into custody. In the courtroom, Lanez’s father denounced the “wicked system” that led to his conviction.
Sentencing was delayed as Lanez’s attorneys filed a motion for a new trial, arguing that evidence was wrongly admitted. That request was denied in May 2023. Such motions immediately following a conviction are common and rarely succeed.
AP Entertainment Writer Andrew Dalton contributed reporting. Follow AP Music Writer Maria Sherman: https://twitter.com/mariasherm