ABC 10 reports that popular DJ Steve Aoki is being sued for accidentally breaking an audience member’s neck during a concert at the Hard Rock Hotel in San Diego. Aoki is well-known for his raucous stage presence, from throwing cake at his audience to jumping into the crowd whenever he feels like it. In this case, which took place almost three years ago to the day and is just now getting ready to go to trial, the DJ set up an inflatable life raft in the audience, climbed the stage rafters, and then jumped an estimated 20 feet down onto the raft and proceeded to crowdsurf. This is apparently something that he does at a lot of his shows.
Brittany Hickman, who was visiting San Diego from Scottsdale, Arizona at the time, says that she was standing near the front of the stage when the incident occurred, and was knocked unconscious. “I was trapped underneath the pool raft because they threw it out right where I was standing,” she told ABC 10. “My friends told me he landed on top of the pool raft, hit me on top of the head and I got knocked over.”
Here’s video footage of the jump in question:
After she didn’t get up, a security guard allegedly carried her out of the crowd. “I came to when one of the people working for the Hard Rock was wrapping my ankle,” she said, and added that she was disoriented from the fall. “They released me back into the concert. At the point when I walked outside, that’s when I realized where I was.” She didn’t understand what had happened to her until they had left the show.
It wasn’t until she was back in Scottsdale that she went to the hospital for a CAT scan after still not feeling better. “The doctor comes in and he says ‘don’t move.’ The medics come over and start to put a neck brace on me,” Hickman recounted to ABC 10. “And I remember thinking what’s going on. And the doctor said you broke your neck. […] If I would have thrown my arms above my head or reached for something, I could have paralyzed myself.” She was in the hospital for three days, and couldn’t go back to work for two months.
Hickman is suing both Aoki and the Hard Rock Hotel San Diego. When ABC 10 reached out for a comment from both parties, they refused because the lawsuit is still ongoing. The case is set to go to trial on 8/28.
Miguel and the MGM Grand Hotel are also being sued for a similar incident after attempting to jump across the stage at last year’s Billboard Music Awards and kicking someone in the audience in the head.