Newnan couple captures footage of McGraw incident
by Bradley Hartsell
News media the world over is speculating about a recent incident involving musician Tim McGraw and a female fan at Aaron’s Amphitheatre in Atlanta on July 13.
During the performance, McGraw is alleged to have struck the woman after she grabbed and tore his jeans as he stood above the crowd.
Video was captured by a handful of concert-goers, and a local couple, Barry and Gabby Isear of Newnan, was able to sell their footage to TMZ. The celebrity gossip and entertainment news company has posted the McGraw video on its website, allowing thousands to repost and comment on the footage.
The Tim McGraw performance took place in Atlanta last Sunday night. According to Barry Isear, who watched the incident as his wife, Gabby, filmed it with her cell phone, McGraw moved from the stage to a bar railing where VIP seating is located. Isear says the bar was only about 12 inches wide, allowing McGraw to perform on the bar while his fans cheered and gave him high-fives.
According to Isear, who was just a few feet away from McGraw performing his hit “Truck Yeah,” a young lady reached up from the VIP crowd and grabbed McGraw by his pants leg and wouldn’t let go.
“The girl reaches and won’t let go, and she tears his jeans – even more than they already were,” said Isear. “He gets mad and he swats her hand away and then slaps her in the head. It didn’t look too bad or aggressive. But he was definitely irritated.”
The young lady was immediately escorted from the concert by security. Since the incident and subsequent video release, media and fans have erupted with criticism of both McGraw and the woman. Followers continue to speculate on whether McGraw was simply defending himself from an aggressive fan or if the woman is a victim of the star’s overreaction. Both Barry and Gabby Isear are on the country music star’s side.
“She was probably drunk and he was probably irritated,” said Barry Isear. “He apologized after the last song for the incident. Not to the young lady, but for the incident itself.”
Gabby Isear, who filmed the scene from her spot in the crowd, says the young lady’s friend was also filming McGraw as he walked onto the bar. According to Gabby, even after the slapping incident, the woman’s friend continued filming, as if not overly concerned with the status of her friend.
In fact, Gabby says, the woman somehow later managed to get away from security and return to her seat.
“She obviously wasn’t hurt,” said Gabby. “When she returned, though, security came again to escort her from the concert.”
McGraw’s public relations representative claims the singer didn’t “slap” his fan.
“He instinctively swatted to try and keep them from ripping his jeans,” the rep told sources, as reported by Taste of Country. “So he could get to more fans who were trying to slap hands with him before the end of the show. He didn’t know who had grabbed him and was simply trying to keep his jeans from being torn.”
Barry Isear says he’s surprised no one has been able to contact or find out who the young lady is. Barry believes it is likely the woman has her own interpretation of the incident.
Gabby agrees, but sides with McGraw.
“I believe it was instinct, and I think he was totally in the right,” Gabby said. “He didn’t know it was a lady, and even then, no one has the right to touch him.”
On Barry Isear’s Facebook page, where the video is also posted, his wife’s cousin, Michelle Kramer, agrees with the bad press McGraw is getting following the concert at Lakewood.
“Do you think he overreacted?” Kramer asks in the Facebook comment. “Yes, the [lady] was yanking on him, but all musicians have that happen. I think there may be some money headed her way soon.”
Barry Isear, who sides with McGraw, also claims McGraw is still his favorite artist.
“There’s no artist I’d rather see more,” Barry said. “He’s my favorite. I’ve seen him probably 20 times, at least. Next time he comes, I’m going for sure. He’s still my favorite.”
As for the Isears, the couple says they have enjoyed the whirlwind of attention their video has received.
Not long after the concert, Barry looked to the Internet to find who else in attendance might have seen the incident his wife had captured.
TMZ had posted a video to its website showing the incident. After viewing that footage, Isear knew his wife had captured the moment more clearly. Barry then called TMZ and offered his wife’s footage. TMZ purchased Gabby’s recording and posted the video.
“It’s been a fun couple days, for sure. It was the lead story on TMZ [Friday] night so it was kind of cool,” Barry Isear said. “We were just at the right place at the right time.”