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Hip Hop awards show in California scrapped as chaos erupts

PASADENA, California (Reuters) -- Police in Pasadena, California, pulled the plug on a televised hip-hop awards show Tuesday night after fights broke out and audience members rushed the stage and hurled objects, officials and witnesses said.

The chaos took place at the Pasadena Civic Auditorium, where the annual Source magazine Hip Hop Awards were being taped for broadcast on the UPN network August 29. Among the stars were Grammy-winning rappers Dr. Dre and Eminem.

According to a recorded message at the Pasadena Police Department, "a large fight" broke out in the auditorium, at 8 p.m. PDT, about 2-1/2 hours into the taping.

A witness said an unidentified man was badly beaten during that fight. Scores of people fled the scene, according to the police message, some toward the exits while up to 75 people ran up onto the stage.

While police were attempting to restore calm, separate scuffles arose throughout the venue, including behind the stage scenery, which began to sway, a witness said. People also began throwing bottles and CDs from their gift bags.

"For the safety of the audience and with no apparent hope of continuing the show peacefully, the Pasadena Police Department announced the show would not continue and asked the audience to leave quietly," the recorded message said.

Most complied with the request, and the area around the auditorium was cleared after about two hours. Police said they did not know the cause of the initial fight, and there were no arrests. Apart from the man who was beaten in the auditorium, no injuries were reported.

Witnesses said the event was beset by scuffles before it began. Punches were thrown as rapper DJ Quik and his entourage arrived, an audience member told Reuters. Inside the auditorium, there was some minor shoving.

A statement from UPN said it was "indeed unfortunate that the irresponsible actions of a few individuals" marred what was supposed to be a cause for celebration.

About a half-dozen awards were presented, and raunchy female rapper L'il Kim had just finished performing before the pandemonium erupted.

A separate, pre-written press release issued after the show ended said Dr. Dre received five awards, including a lifetime achievement honor, while his protege, Eminem, took home two.

The star-studded event boasted "higher production values which elevated this year's event to the level of other major awards shows," the statement said.

Copyright 2000 Reuters. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.



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