Brian May Thanks Fans After TV ‘Ambush’
Queen guitarist Brian May responded to TV coverage of his angry outburst at a news cameraman, suggesting that the journalist’s intention was to rile him and generate a negative story.
He added that the incident in Brisbane, Australia, left him struggling against an attack of depression – an illness that gave him problems over Christmas – but that he was grateful for fans’ support in the aftermath.
“No – I’m not all right, but I will be,” May wrote on Instagram. “It certainly ruined my day, and if that’s what you wanted, Channel 7, then you got it. There’s a fine line between anger and depression, and I’ve been struggling with all of that since I got ambushed. … Now, obviously I’m not a novice at this … I’ve interacted with literally thousands of news reporters, photographers and cameramen over the last 50 years. I’m not exactly known for being aggressive, even in the face of provocation, but this guy caught me unawares – one of the rudest and most disrespectful video cameramen I’ve ever encountered.”
May said he stopped near the airport because he saw a group of young fans and was convinced they were genuine supporters and not “pesky eBay hounds just looking to make a quick buck.” “This stuff still matters to me," he said. "So we stopped the car and I got out to sign their Queen material, and they kindly gave me gifts of typically Australian goodies. Lovely.
“Pressed up against the kids was a guy with a huge TV camera. I’d noticed him, obviously, but I had no idea who he was – whether he was part of the party of kids, or a third party. I just let him film for the few moments I was signing the albums. But these kids were clearly very moved by the meeting, and I felt they deserved to have a few moments not being filmed for public sharing. So, in the nicest possible way, I turned to the cameraman and asked if he’d stop filming, now he’d got his story, and give us some private moments. He refused. He kept on filming, and aggressively turned the camera close-up on my face. That, to me, felt like deliberate invasion of my space, and downright unfriendly. At that moment, everything changed.”
As the reporter continued to shoot, May said he was “beginning to boil." “Everyone has a tipping point, I think?” he noted. When the TV camera was switched off and the reporter started recording with his phone instead, May said it was the “last straw,” and he moved forward with the intention of “temporarily separating him from his phone” until a security man stepped in. “And then I realized I had walked straight into a trap," he said. "The guy now had what he wanted. He could cook this up into a story in which I was portrayed as an attacker on an innocent victim of a newsman. He possessed the only footage of the incident, so he or his bosses could edit it any way they wanted, to make me look like I lost my rag for no reason. And that, predictably, is exactly what Channel 7 did.”
May added that he regrets "getting angry, but angry I was, under what I regard as severe provocation, and to me the behavior of the camera guy and the Channel 7 News Team is shabby and shameful. I’d like an apology from them all, but of course the chances of that are small. I don’t know whether it was all a set-up from the beginning – maybe so – or whether he just deliberately acted like an arse to create a story, but either way, I’ve had a struggle not to feel abused and unwelcome.”
At the time of writing, May said he still felt “bruised” but predicted “tomorrow morning I will get up and do my preparations, with intent to give one of the best performances of my life, fueled by new lessons learned, and a determination to make the best out of all this.”
In a follow-up posting, May delivered a short video of himself, clearly happier and more positive, and grateful to fans for the support they sent via social media.
“Hello to being fully functional! Goodbye to black dog!” he wrote. “Wishing you all a great day – and yes – even them! The great thing about days is every one is a new one.”