The Tory Lanez And Megan Thee Stallion Case Explained

In late December 2022, Canadian rapper Daystar Peterson who performs as Tory Lanez was convicted on three counts of felony assault, according to The New York Times. Those charges stemmed from a 2020 altercation with Megan Pete, better known as the hip-hop musician, Megan Thee Stallion. At that time, Megan Thee Stallion was shot in the feet, as The New York Times reports. According to CNN, Lanez pleaded not guilty to all three charges against him. As of this report, Lanez faced up to 22 years in prison, per Billboard.

As The Times notes, the shooting took place after a Los Angeles party hosted by the Kardashian/Jenner family member, reality star, and beauty industry entrepreneur, Kylie Jenner. Also at the scene was Megan Thee Stallion's longtime friend and one-time personal assistant, Kelsey Harris (via Hollywood Life). According to Megan Thee Stallion's own testimony at the Lanez trial, the trio left the party and an argument broke out in the car, prompting Megan Thee Stallion's request to exit the vehicle (via Billboard). As she did so, Lanez reportedly shouted a gender-based epithet at her, ordered her to "dance," and then shot her in the feet. The Houston rap star was badly injured.

The argument erupted over an alleged love triangle

As Megan Thee Stallion went on to explain in her testimony the disagreement leading up to the shooting involved an alleged love triangle between Harris, Megan Thee Stallion, and Lanez, as Billboard reports. Lanez (pictured) did not testify at his trial, as the NYT elsewhere notes. Already angered that he was made to leave the Jenner party before he was ready, Lanez reportedly confronted Megan Thee Stallion in the SUV alongside Harris. He demanded that Megan Thee Stallion come clean to her long-time friend about the sexual relationship between her and Lanez.

According to Megan Thee Stallion, she was reluctant to do so, aware that Harris also had feelings for the Canadian rapper. The incident was the first time Harris learned that Megan Thee Stallion and Harris had a romantic history. At the time the shooting happened, Megan Thee Stallion, a Grammy Award-winner, was arguably a bigger star than Lanez, as The Times writes. Per Billboard, as Megan Thee Stallion testified at the trial, at that time, "He was just Tory Lanez," but the fallout from the incident helped him gain popularity. Taunting from Megan Thee Stallion and professional jealousy may have partially played a part in the attack (via Billboard).

Megan Thee Stallion's story changed, according to Lanez's defense

Under cross-examination in the Lanez trial, it was revealed that in the aftermath of the assault the "WAP" rapper — a hit Megan Thee Stallion collaboration with rapper Cardi B (via AllMusic) — changed her story about what happened the night the shooting took place. As The New York Times writes, she initially posted on social media that she had been shot but gave few further details, and on the night that it happened, she at first told police she had stepped on broken glass and injured her feet. Motivating the "Body" rapper — another Megan Thee Stallion hit (per AllMusic) — to conceal the truth from the police, according to her own testimony, were concerns about potential police brutality, 

Shortly after the shooting happened, Megan Thee Stallion openly named Lanez as the alleged assailant live on Instagram. Per further reporting from Billboard, Megan Thee Stallion also told Gayle King on "CBS Mornings" she lied to Harris about her relationship with Lanez. Remembering the night that it happened, Megan Thee Stallion told King (via Billboard) " ... I looked down at my feet. I'm like, 'Oh, my God' ... Like, I'm really bleeding. So I, like, drop down and I crawl in somebody's driveway." 

The assault happened shortly after the 2020 George Floyd killing by Minneapolis police officers and subsequent nationwide protests over police violence. The injured rap superstar said she was also reluctant to be seen as a snitch, which is looked down on in the rap community, based on further testimony, as Billboard writes.

Megan Thee Stallion and Tory Lanez engaged in a war of words

In the immediate aftermath of the shooting, Lanez reportedly was apologetic and offered Megan Thee Stallion $1 million to keep cover up the incident, according to Megan Thee Stallion speaking with Gayle King on "CBS Mornings" (via Billboard). As The New York Times writes, Lanez's defense attorney claimed the apology from Lanez was related to the love affair revelation that night but not to the shooting, and Lanez's DNA was never found on the gun. Harris's DNA was never tested. Also according to The New York Times, in the aftermath of the attack both Megan Thee Stallion and Lanez both released music levying accusations against one another.

In his music, Lanez continued to deny his involvement, to which Megan Thee Stallion responded with her song "Shots Fired." Evidence supported the "WAP" musician's version of events. Her friend Harris — present at the time — texted Lanez's bodyguard "Help" followed by "Tory shot Meg" and "911." In an essay published by The Times, Megan Thee Stallion framed the assault and subsequent media scrutiny as a power struggle between Black women and men in the music industry, physical abuse against women in personal relationships, and the backlash that can happen when any woman speak out about domestic violence.

If you or someone you know is dealing with domestic abuse, you can call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1−800−799−7233. You can also find more information, resources, and support at their website.

Harris changed her version of events

According to Rolling Stone, Kelsey Harris, Megan Thee Stallion's former friend who was there the night she was attacked, also testified at Lanez's trial. Lanez's defense alleged Harris, instead, shot Lanez when she learned the two rappers had a physical relationship. Harris and Megan Thee Stallion's relationship never recovered. At the trial, Harris denied that she ever saw Lanez fire the gun, a reversal from Harris' police testimony given earlier. Under oath, Harris blamed intoxication for the discrepancy, and that at that time, she was experiencing postpartum depression and anxiety. Per The New York Times, an eyewitness also saw what happened that night from inside their home. 

According to the witnesses, they at first believed the flashes from gunfire came from a woman, but later saw a "short man" firing repeatedly. Also at the trial, Harris walked back an earlier statement that Lanez threatened to shoot her, and denied that she shot her former friend in a fit of jealousy. A gun, still warm, was found in Lanez's car. Megan Thee Stallion testified she saw Lanez point the gun and pull the trigger, as Rolling Stone writes. Harris also evoked the Fifth Amendment and demanded immunity while on the stand, according to Oxygen True Crime. Some involved in the case speculate Harris may have accepted Lanez's financial offer to change her testimony (via Rolling Stone).

Lanez could now be deported

With Lanez's guilty verdict now final on three counts of assault, including assault with a semiautomatic handgun, carrying a loaded, unregistered firearm in a vehicle, and discharging a firearm with gross negligence, the Canadian rap star now faces a possible lengthy prison sentence and may also be deported, according to The New York Times. In total, the trial lasted about two weeks and the jury reached their conclusion after around seven hours of deliberation. Megan Thee Stallion was not in the courtroom when the verdict was read. Lanez, who was there, reportedly did not react. As of this report, Lanez's sentencing was expected to take place in January 2023.

After the verdict was read, Los Angeles district attorney George Gascón said in a statement (via NYT) "You showed incredible courage and vulnerability with your testimony despite repeated and grotesque attacks that you did not deserve ... Women, especially Black women, are afraid to report crimes like assault and sexual violence because they are too often not believed." Lanez defense lawyer, George Mgdesyan, called the prosecution's case "full of holes and speculation." He also alleged that Megan Thee Stallion has lied about what really happened that night (via The Times).