Queen guitarist Brian May has offered his side of the story following a tense exchange with a cameraman from a local Australian news channel the other day.
In video shared by the paparazzi, May is signing autographs and posing for photos with fans when he appears to take offense at being filmed for television. After threatening an "ugly" incident, May berates the newsman and takes a swipe at the phone in his hand.
But the footage in question is edited for TV, and Queen fans were skeptical of the story to begin with, knowing May's typically soft-spoken and humble demeanor.
May took to Instagram Wednesday to explain himself. He says he was "ambushed and harrassed [sic]" by 7NEWS Brisbane as soon as he arrived in the city from New Zealand. He says he's since located one of the fans who was present during the incident and is trying to contact the others.
"I've interacted with literally thousands of news reporters, photographers and cameramen over the last 50 years," May wrote. "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 was in a car leaving the airport when he saw a group of young people with Queen albums. He pulled over to say hello.
"This stuff still matters to me," he said.
Despite the cameraman being "pressed up against the kids," May says he ignored it as best he could for a few minutes; the man needed to get his story, after all. After some time, May began to feel like the kids deserved a few moments that weren't for "public sharing."
May says he asked nicely, but the cameraman not only refused to put down the device, he "aggressively turned the camera close-up on my face" in what seemed like a "deliberate invasion of my space."
He asked "at least two more times" for the man to put away the camera, with some fans echoing the request.
May recalls one saying, "I've waited half my life to meet Brian and I don't want it to be spoilt by you."
Eventually, the cameraman put away the news camera but continued filming on his iPhone. This was the last straw.
After May took a swipe at the phone, he says he realized he "walked straight into a trap. The guy now had what he wanted."
While some fans took photos, he doesn't believe anyone else was filming the interaction. That doesn't leave much proof of his patience and the news channel was free to "cook this up into a story in which I was portrayed as an attacker..."
Noting that his first new minutes in Brisbane left him feeling "abused and unwelcome," May says he knows most Aussie's — like his cousins, with whom he spent that afternoon — are good people.
"Being disrespected so publicly takes a little while to get over," May added in a subsequent post.
Then, in a fourth post Wednesday afternoon, May warmly thanked fans for an "avalanche" of support after the uncharacteristic bad press.
Photo: Getty Images