*BET is downplaying the brawl that took place at its Hip Hop Awards taping Saturday night in Atlanta, saying reports of shots being fired in the parking lot are due to “reckless tweeting.”
Police were called to the Atlanta Civic Center during the ceremony to break up a backstage altercation, which was allegedly linked to rappers Rick Ross and Young Jeezy. No arrests were made, but a police spokesperson revealed pepper spray had been used in a bid to calm everyone down.
Stephen G. Hill, president of BET’s music programming and specials, has now spoken out about the incident, saying Ross and Young Jeezy were not involved, and the “fight” was nothing more than pushing and shoving.
He tells Billboard.com: “There was some shoving – it never turned into a fight. They realized it’s an awards show. They realized we spend a lot of money to make hip-hop look good on TV… It was not the artists…”
He also insists reports of gunfire were blown out of proportion and blames Twitter for spreading the false speculation.
“Police would’ve closed this down a completely different way had there been gunshots,” he said. “If there’s gunshots, your show’s not going on. Again, reckless tweeting.”
BET, meanwhile, released the following official statement regarding the incident: “BET Networks works very hard to bring the best in entertainment to the city of Atlanta. For the past 7 years BET has celebrated the true art form of Hip Hop. Due to some misjudgment of select attendees, it is unfortunate that certain incidents took place. BET Networks does not condone any type of violence. Local authorities are working to resolve the situation as quickly as possible.”
The awards show, which featured performances from Sean ‘Diddy’ Combs, Missy Elliott and 50 Cent, will air as schedule on Oct. 9.