Megan Thee Stallion isn’t on trial, and even though she was shot, she’s left defending herself
Famed rapper Megan Thee Stallion (whose real name is Megan Pete) isn’t on trial for assault. The man accused of shooting her in both feet, fellow rapper Tory Lanez (Daystar Peterson), is. But in the court of public opinion, it’s been Pete who’s had to prove her innocence and defend her sexuality.
During the Lanez trial, Pete has faced an onslaught of misogynoir. As MSNBC reports, she’s been mocked and questioned all over the web, even after bullet fragments were retrieved from her feet following the 2020 shooting by Lanez.
“Yes … Tory shot me. You shot me and you got your publicist and your people going to these blogs lying,” the 25-year-old rapper said, according to The Los Angeles Times. “Stop lying. Why lie? I don’t understand.”
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Lanez was arrested by the Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) and was later released on bail.
On July 24, Los Angeles County prosecutors were presented by Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) with an investigation for a “felony assault with a semi-automatic firearm,” but then returned it back for further investigation.
Pete initially told officers she’d stepped on broken glass but later confided in prosecutors that Lanez had shot her. She’s said that she is deeply suspicious of the police and has become even more so since the murder of George Floyd.
The Los Angeles County District Attorney’s office has confirmed that Pete’s evidence “substantially supports” the charges and allegations in her case.
But the ongoing misinformation—from other male rappers and Black entertainment and gossip writers—has made it seem as if Pete is the one on trial. This is having a negative impact on her career.
One example comes from DJ Akademiks, who wrote in a now-deleted tweet to his 1.3 million followers (before the trial even began), “It was revealed in court few moments ago that Tory Lanez DNA WAS NOT found on the weapon in the Meg Thee Stallion case”—a targeted misinformation campaign, The Daily Beast reported.
Other blog sites have been pivoting content away from Lanez’s shooting to Pete’s sex life. The Daily Loud ran a video on its site of Lanez’s lawyer accusing the rapper of having sex with his client, basketball player Ben Simmons, and rapper DaBaby—both accusations entirely irrelevant for the case.
“This situation has only been worse for me, and it has only made him more famous,” Pete said in court, according to reporting by NPR. “Because I was shot, I’ve been turned into some kind of villain, and he’s the victim. This has messed up my whole life. … This whole situation in the industry is like a big boys’ club. … I’m telling on one of y’all friends, now you’re all about to hate me.”
According to the “WAP” rapper, on July 12, 2020, she and Peterson began arguing on a car ride home from a party. Kelsey Harris, Pete’s former friend and assistant, was also present.
Pete alleged in court that after getting out of the car, Peterson shouted, “Dance, bitch,” and then fired five shots at her, striking her in the feet. “I felt shocked. I felt hurt. I wasn’t sure if this was really happening. I looked at my feet, I saw the blood, and I fell to the ground,” the Grammy-winning star testified.
So, once again, survivors are forced to defend themselves in cases where they’ve been assaulted and victimized, and the violence they’re subjected to is downplayed because they’re women.
In November, The Southern Black Girls and Women’s Consortium penned a letter in support of Pete, decrying violence against women and denouncing the misogynistic way she’s been treated since coming forward publicly.
The letter reads, in part:
You are larger than life in many ways; your name is in lights, your face on billboards, your songs in the history books…and this is still just the beginning of your story. In a very short amount of time, you’ve achieved success probably beyond your wildest dreams, and it seems that each day brings a new announcement about something amazing you’ve done or are preparing to do. Women all over the world consider you an inspiration, in part because you make them feel good about themselves. You’re a special kind of talent and a special kind of person; the place you hold in your fans’ hearts is a testament to that.
As you’ve risen to the top, you’ve also had to endure a lot of obstacles along the way. In the face of triumph and tragedy alike, you always keep your head held high, maintain your poise, and push forward. However, while so many of us celebrate you for your strength and perseverance, it must be said that you have been treated in ways that no young woman–no person at all–should be treated.
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