drummer and fashion editor preetma singh allegedly assaulted by security at osheaga festival
The musician and fashion editor was choked and bruised by police at the Montreal music festival, which has been repeatedly called out for silencing victims of drugging and assault.
Exactly two years ago, Dev Hynes tweeted that he had just been brutally assaulted by security guards at Lollapalooza. Hynes and his girlfriend at the time, Samantha Urbani, had just given a speech about racism and police brutality while wearing t-shirts emblazoned with the names of victims. "They grabbed her I asked what they were doing and they grabbed my neck and threw me to the ground, then two others joined in on me," he wrote. "Everyone saw it. We are pressing charges, I can't believe it. I'm so upset. Why is this still happening? I just want to make music."
Over the weekend, a disturbingly similar incident happened at Osheaga Music and Arts Festival in Montreal. Preetma Singh, drummer in the band Vomitface and a woman of color, was allegedly assaulted by festival security when her bandmate and boyfriend Jared forgot to swipe his pass when entering the VIP checkpoint, according to Vomitface's Twitter. Singh explained to i-D over email that she turned around when she didn't notice Jared, only to see that the food he had been carrying was strewn everywhere and he had been thrown down the stairs. Singh instinctively yelled to the cop "Stop don't hurt him" and made a move towards the stairs when she was put into a headlock chokehold by the security guard. She blacked out, and woke up to realize her earrings had been ripped out and her sunglasses were gone. However it was the festival's handling of the violent, unprovoked assault that was perhaps most horrifying.
"I called 911, and police that were stationed at the festival came even though we requested a more objective party from without," she says. "Then those cops refused to make a report. They just threatened to arrest us. We were literally chased off the island. I remember being so scared trying to find our way out of that hell. Meanwhile the security guard was immediately whisked away and protected. No one at all even let us speak. I have bruises all over my arms, my neck is still sore and my voice is hoarse. No one has been in contact with us since to address the issue let alone apologize."
The band is still tweeting at the festival organizers, and highlighting other recent instances of Osheaga security silencing and blaming victims — including multiple women's ignored reports of being date raped on festival grounds.
Text Hannah Ongley
Image via Instagram