A jury returned a verdict Friday in the case against Tory Lanez in the 2020 set of Megan Thee Stallion, a lawsuit that has spawned social media hashtags and diss tracks from some of the key figures in the case.
The Grammy-winning rapper has accused Lanez of shooting him in the foot after the couple left a party at Kylie Jenner’s house in 2020. Lanez, whose legal name is Daystar Peterson, has pleaded not guilty to shooting him in the foot. fired on it and devoted an entire album to refuting Megan Thee Stallion’s version of events.
He was initially charged with assault with a semi-automatic firearm and carrying a loaded, unregistered firearm in a vehicle. Prosecutors added a third charge, discharging a firearm with gross negligence, earlier this month. Lanez faces a maximum sentence of 22 years in prison. He can also be deported to his country of origin, Canada, after serving his sentence.
The case began in July 2020, when police stopped an SUV carrying the pair and two others in the Hollywood Hills. Megan Thee Stallion, real name Megan Jovon Ruth Pete, testified that she first told police she cut her feet on glass when asked why she was bleeding.
She was taken by ambulance to Cedars-Sinai where doctors found bullet fragments in her foot, which required surgery to remove.
“I couldn’t walk for a while,” she testified. “I still have nerve damage. I can’t really feel the side of my left foot. I still have pain in the back of my feet, but I’m just getting by.
She publicly stated on her Instagram weeks after the incident that she was shot and ultimately identified Lanez as the shooter. She later took aim at him in the song “Shots Fired”.
In her testimony, Megan Thee Stallion said Lanez offered her $1 million to keep the shooting quiet.
In an interview with Gayle King in April, before the trial, Megan Thee Stallion explained that she initially lied to the police because she feared she would end up in a more dangerous situation.
“You think I’m about to tell the police that we…we black people have a gun in the car?” she asked. “You want me to tell the police we have a gun in the car so they can shoot us all?”
Lanez declined to testify in his defense. His lawyers had called Sean Kelly, a witness who lived in the neighborhood, to tell the court that he had been woken up by two women fighting on the night of the shooting.
Kelly testified that he saw two women fight, according to Variety, but then said he saw what appeared to be multiple gunshots from a man who was “shooting everywhere.”
Jurors also heard a taped interview with Megan Thee Stallion’s former friend Kelsey Harris from September, in which she gave a detailed account of the altercation between the two rappers.
Harris, who was also in the SUV, testified in court before the recording aired that she did not recall many details of the shooting, but allegedly provided clear details about the night during her interview with the prosecutors.
Harris said in the taped interview that she overheard the pair arguing about their “art” and career before filming, according to Rolling Stone. She said Lanez ordered the women out of the SUV and Megan Thee Stallion was walking away when the first shots were fired.
“He shoots over the door,” Harris told prosecutors. “(He) was leaning over the front passenger door and he was shooting the gun.”
The lawsuit has garnered considerable attention online, with many Megan Thee Stallion fans criticizing the public’s attention to the rapper’s sexual history. Fans have spoken out against bitch-shaming or victim-blaming being used to distract from the violence she was subjected to. The day she spoke, thousands of people online used the hashtag #WeStandWithMegan to virtually rally behind her.
One user wrote in a tweet with over 48,000 likes, “I personally don’t care that Megan slept with the whole city of Houston. WHY WAS SHE GOT SHOT?”
Other celebrities have also spoken out about the affair online, including Megan Thee Stallion’s “WAP” collaborator Cardi B. She called her a “superstar” in an Instagram Live.
“Why would someone lie and say they got shot? Cardi said. “Why?”
Not all the chatter online has been supportive of Megan Thee Stallion. Rapper 50 Cent posted a tweet earlier this month with a series of photos that appeared to show Megan Thee Stallion transforming into actor Jussie Smollett. He wrote that he was “confused” and “not sure what to think” before adding a link to his merchandise website.
Smollett was sentenced to jail and additional probation in March for falsely reporting to police that he had been the victim of a racist and homophobic attack in 2019.