There'll be no "Sweet Escape" for Gwen Stefani: She's lost a motion for summary judgment and must now face a lawsuit charging that at a 2016 concert in Charlotte, NC, she incited the crowd to stampede, causing a fan to be injured.
As Billboard reports, the suit stems from an incident that occurred 10 minutes into the show, when Gwen told the audience, "If anyone wants to come down a little closer so I can see you a little better, just come on down, I don’t think anyone’s going to care."
Fans immediately rushed the stage, prompting Gwen to tell them to go back to their seats, but it was too late for plaintiff Lisa Strickland. She claims she was trampled and pushed into a wall, causing her to sustain a fractured leg.
As Billboard reports, the judge began his decision by quoting the lyrics from Gwen's hit "Sweet Escape": "I know I've been a real bad girl/I didn't mean for you to get hurt whatsoever."
The judge rejected the notion that Gwen's invitation to the fans wasn't protected by free speech rules, writing, "Stefani’s statement was intended to prompt action; it was not intended to further the marketplace of ideas or to aid in the common quest for truth and the vitality of society as a whole.”
- Don Stuck