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Harry Styles and Drake are among the artists hit by items thrown at them mid-show

MARY LOUISE KELLY, HOST:

Singer Harry Styles was hit in the eye over the weekend while performing in Vienna, Austria. Someone in the audience threw an object in his face during his concert. And this was just the latest in a string of similar and strange incidents. As NPR's Anastasia Tsioulcas reports, Styles is at least the fifth performer this month to have been hit by a flying object on stage.

ANASTASIA TSIOULCAS, BYLINE: There doesn't seem to be much rhyme or reason to who is getting hit or why. The singer Pink had a fan throw a bag containing their deceased mother's ashes at her during performance in London late last month. Pink was visibly baffled and disturbed in a fan video shared on social media.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

PINK: This is your mom? I don't know how to feel about this.

TSIOULCAS: In another video taken by a fan and shared on social media, we see Harry Styles doubling over in pain and grabbing his left eye as he walked the stage at his concert in Vienna. So this isn't a standalone incident. It's become part of a weird and disturbing trend at live concerts. While most venues already restrict what fans can bring into shows, cell phones have become projectiles. Drake was hit in the wrist in Chicago by a concertgoer who flung a cell phone at him.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

DRAKE: Like, I don't need new cell phones and sunglasses. I don't need nothing.

TSIOULCAS: He was unhurt. More seriously, however, the pop singer Bebe Rexha needed stitches after a man threw a cell phone at her head during a New York City show. The man was arrested and charged with assault. Country singer Kelsea Ballerini was also hit in the eye during a performance in Boise, Idaho, this time by a bracelet thrown by someone in the audience. Years ago, she witnessed a classmate die during a shooting at her high school in Knoxville, Tenn.

After the Boise show, she wrote in an Instagram story, quote, "we all have triggers and layers of fears way deeper than what is shown, and that's why I walked off stage to calm down and make sure myself, band and crew and the crowd all felt safe to continue." The plainspoken singer Adele decided to address these incidents at a recent show in Las Vegas.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

ADELE: Have you noticed how people are, like, (inaudible) at the moment because (inaudible) on stage? Have you seen that? I f***ing dare you. I dare you to throw something at me like (inaudible).

TSIOULCAS: Adele seemed to be at least half-kidding. But at the same time, these incidents are no joke. Anastasia Tsioulcas, NPR News, New York. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

NPR transcripts are created on a rush deadline by an NPR contractor. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability may vary. The authoritative record of NPR’s programming is the audio record.

Anastasia Tsioulcas is a reporter on NPR's Arts desk. She is intensely interested in the arts at the intersection of culture, politics, economics and identity, and primarily reports on music. Recently, she has extensively covered gender issues and #MeToo in the music industry, including backstage tumult and alleged secret deals in the wake of sexual misconduct allegations against megastar singer Plácido Domingo; gender inequity issues at the Grammy Awards and the myriad accusations of sexual misconduct against singer R. Kelly.
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