NASHVILLE, TN Oct 20 2016
A dream gig turned into a nightmare for one Nashville musician.
Johnny Duke said he was assaulted Friday night by a security guard just moments after finishing an opening set with country star Lee Ann Womack.
Duke said he was hoping to catch headliner Chris Stapleton after his set. The two have been friends for years.
But Duke couldn't see very well from the side platform where a guard told him he could stand, so he moved to the other side of the stage.
Duke said the guard didn't like that.
“He was just furious, like pure rage,” Duke said.
Duke said the security guard put him in a headlock, pushed him down a stairwell and choked him.
“This guy wanted to kill me. I wonder if he pushed me into the stairwell so no one could see,” Duke said.
Duke said he spotted police officers and begged for help, but he said the security guard interrupted, telling the officers Duke tried storming the stage and he needed to be arrested.
“I was like, ‘No! I just performed on stage. This is a sick man.’ Because the security guard has his Ascend jacket on and he was the authority, it didn't matter what I said,” Duke said.
Duke shared his story on Facebook and received plenty feedback and support, even from the Stapletons themselves.
“Chris and his wife Morgan just called and were mortified to hear what had happened and were very sympathetic,” Duke said.
The guard is employed by Axis Security. The company does security for most Ascend Amphitheater concerts.
“The irony here is this man was being paid to protect me as a performer 20 minutes earlier, to his hands around my neck. How do you justify that? This man needs to be held accountable for his actions and legally punished,” Duke said.
Axis Security has not responded to calls and emails.