Concert-goer: DJ Steve Aoki broke my neck, files lawsuit
(WXYZ.COM) SAN DIEGO, Calif. – Steve Aoki is a famous DJ known for his wild antics – but is he going too far?
A young woman says he landed on her during a show in San Diego and broke her neck.
She’s telling her story for the first time — and only to Team 10 – to warn others about what could happen at similar events.
She was hurt in 2012, filed a lawsuit and now the case is headed to trial. She’s speaking out nearly three years to the day that it happened as Aoki’s popularity grows and so do the number of his shows.
‘It Was All Brand New To Me’
Brittany Hickman said she had never even heard of Steve Aoki. She grew up and went to college in Ann Arbor, Michigan.
Hickman left the Midwest for a new job, and a life with no snow, in Scottsdale, Arizona.
When new co-workers invited her on a weekend getaway, she said she jumped at the chance to see San Diego.
“I wanted to take that opportunity to really see more of California and check out San Diego,” said Hickman.
She said her friends planned the trip and itinerary.
“On Sunday we were going to go to a concert at the Hard Rock Hotel called Intervention,” said Hickman.
She bought tickets to the show, even though she wasn’t familiar with Aoki or his music.
“It was all brand new to me,” said Hickman.
‘I Was Knocked Unconscious’
Steve Aoki is a huge EDM (electronic dance music) star.
He was named the highest grossing dance artist in North America from tours by Pollstar in 2012, he won a Billboard music award for best mix album of the year in 2008 and was nominated for a Grammy in 2013.
Aoki released his brand new album, Neon Future II, on Wednesday May 13, 2015.
He’s also known for launching cakes into the faces of fans during his shows and throwing rafts into the crowd so he can crowd surf during his set.
Hickman said she didn’t know any of this when she went to his show in May of 2012.
“I tried to listen to a few of his songs to get a feel for what it would be like,” said Hickman.
She said was standing with friends near the front of the stage.
“I don’t remember too much of it because I was knocked unconscious,” said Hickman.
Her friends told her what happened and surveillance video shows the whole thing.
“He threw a pool raft into the crowd and climbed up the scaffolding to the top of the make-shift stage and then he jumped off of the stage into the pool raft,” said Hickman.
“I was trapped underneath the pool raft because they threw it out right where i was standing. My friends told me he landed on top of the pool raft, hit me on top of the head and I got knocked over,” said Hickman.
She said others were knocked down too.
“They said I was laying on the ground for a moment and I didn’t get up,” said Hickman. Her friends said a security guard carried her out of the crowd.
“I came to when one of the people working for the Hard Rock was wrapping my ankle,” said Hickman.
She said she felt foggy and confused. They asked her where she was and she said Scottsdale.
“They released me back into the concert. At the point when I walked outside, that’s when I realized where I was,” said Hickman. She said she didn’t know she had head trauma or who caused it until they left the concert.
“That Steve Aoki had jumped and actually hit me in the head and I was knocked out,” said Hickman.
Hickman said she left San Diego and the pain got worse. She went to the hospital for a CAT scan.
“The doctor comes in and he says ‘don’t move.’ The medics come over and start to put a neck brace on me. And I remember thinking what’s going on. And the doctor said you broke your neck,” said Hickman.
The doctors told Hickman she could have paralyzed herself in between the time she left San Diego and went to the hospital.
“If I would have thrown my arms above my head or reached for something, I could have paralyzed myself,” she said.
Hickman said she was in the hospital for three days and wasn’t allowed to work for two months.
“I just want to be back to the way I was before,” she said.
Hickman has filed a lawsuit against Aoki and the Hard Rock Hotel San Diego.
“Don’t trust that just because you’re paying for a ticket to a show that you’re going to be protected by the venue or the performer,” said her attorney, Jeremiah Lowe of Gomez Trial Attorneys.
Hickman said she is worried for other people attending Aoki’s shows.
“Your life can be changed so much for someone’s reckless actions,” she said.
Team 10 reached out to Steve Aoki’s management team and attorney, Peter Doody. They sent this response:
“Thank you for your inquiry. As you know I am the attorney representing Mr. Aoki. This matter arises out of an incident which occurred at the Hard Rock Hotel in San Diego, three years ago. In addition to Mr. Aoki, Ms. Hickman is also suing Hard Rock. Trial in this matter is scheduled for August 28, 2015 before Judge Pressman of the San Diego Superior Court. Because of the ongoing litigation and the pending trial date it would not be appropriate for us to respond to your inquiry at this time or permit an interview.”
Hard Rock Hotel San Diego Responds
Team 10 also reached out to the attorney for the Hard Rock Hotel San Diego. Their response was “we do not have any comment.”