UPDATE: Morrissey has weighed in on the controversy. Read his response below.
Morrissey's former bodyguard has filed a lawsuit against the singer, alleging that Morrissey asked him to injure a fan. TMZ reports that the guard, Bradley Steyn, was hired after Moz was knocked over by admirers who rushed the stage during a San Jose performance last May. Steyn claims that he was fired soon after because he refused Morrissey's request to "hurt" David Tseng, who runs the fansite Morrissey-solo.com.
According to Steyn, Morrissey asked him if the fan, who started the website in 1997, "could get hurt." TMZ writes that the former Smiths frontman felt the site "invaded his personal life." The lawsuit also alleges that the singer's tour manager wondered aloud if the fan "could be gotten rid of" and if they could find his home address. This incident cropped up just a few weeks after the release of Morrissey's latest album, World Peace Is None of Your Business.
Unsurprisingly, Morrissey has denied any validity to Steyn's claims.
In a statement released today, the singer refers to the bodyguard as "a complete stranger" who never acted as his head of security — although he did work on three Morrissey tours. "The story is a vexatious lie," the Smiths frontman wrote on fansite True to You. As for the supposed target, the songwriter admits to finding Tseng "mildly irritating" in that the Morrissey-solo site (or, "SoLow)" gives "maximum and inexhuastive publicity to anything said in the negative" about him.
"The very idea that I would ask a complete stranger to physically attack David Tseng surely cannot register with any sane person as being likely," Morrissey wrote, adding "He is not someone who troubles me enough to even bother with."
Of course, the Morrissey-solo site reposted his statement, and the commenters were quick to voice their own opinions. According to an account called Uncleskinny, employees at an unspecified concert venue where Morrissey performed had pictures of Tseng on their cell phones "so they could spot him." Mostly, though, the responders on Morrissey-solo.com denied that David Tseng manages and/or writes everything featured on the site.
Read Morrissey's response in full below:
I cannot admit to actually "knowing" Bradley Steyn. Yes, I am aware that he is South African and that he lives in Los Angeles, and that he has "walked off" three Morrissey tours - which really is his own business, not mine. My personal involvement with him has been zero, and he has certainly never been Head Of Security on any Morrissey tour.
I am aware of the false story he has placed on various news sites wherein he claims I asked him to "hurt" (kill?) David Tseng. Although Steyn's story lends itself to its own ridicule, I feel I must say to those who have not yet worked it out, that the story is a vexatious lie.
It is common knowledge that I dislike the SoLow site, and I am aware that all of the opinions posted on the site are controlled or written by David Tseng, and that David Tseng will give maximum and inexhaustive publicity to anything said in the negative about me. This is a general truth that most people accept about SoLow. It is nothing new, and I have long since learned to accept it.
The very idea that I would ask a complete stranger (Bradley Steyn) to physically attack David Tseng surely cannot register with any sane person as being likely. As mildly irritating as David Tseng may be, he is not someone who troubles me enough to even bother with.
The shabby truth of this drama is that Bradley Steyn has been trying to extract money from what he terms "the Morrissey tour", and he has failed. He is now desperate, and this story is his latest escapade to gain someone's attention. What he is telling the world is that, as a music venue security officer, anyone who works with him in the future should expect the same harassment and persecution as he is now - mysteriously - wielding my way. It is beyond belief, and it is shocking that someone who makes claims of professionalism would lower himself to this level.
Please note that Bradley Steyn's statement is now in the hands of the Los Angeles Police Department, and is subject to both criminal and civil action.
30 July 2014.