LOS ANGELES (CN) – Comic and impressionist Aries Spears sued radio personality Alonzo Williams late Monday, claiming Williams punched him repeatedly during a video podcast as it was being live-streamed on the internet.
Spears also sued Bayman Productions, which produces the podcast “The Corey Holcomb 5150 Show,” for not intervening.
In his 10-page lawsuit filed in Los Angeles County Superior Court, Spears says that near the end of a two-hour appearance on Holcomb’s podcast, show co-host Williams became agitated with him, told him to “shut the fuck up” and threatened him.
Then, “the situation devolved into chaos as Defendant Williams savagely beat Mr. Spears in the face and head,” landing “between 7-10 fierce blows to Mr. Spears’ head and face,” Spears says in his complaint.
Spears says he did not fight back, but rather adopted a defensive posture with his arms guarding his head, until he fell to the floor.
The show’s host, comedian Corey Holcomb “merely stood and watched” as the beating took place, the lawsuit claims. Holcomb is not named as a defendant in the lawsuit.
A video of the episode, posted by entertainment and gossip news site TMZ, shows another co-host, a young woman, moving in to apparently stop Williams after 5 or 10 seconds.
What occurred was “an unmitigated and hostile act on a defenseless comedian,” said Spears’ attorney Ben Meisales of Geragos & Geragos.
Spears is a well-known comedian and an alumnus of the sketch comedy television show, “MadTV,” his lawsuit says.
Williams, who is known by Zo Williams, is a relationship coach and former music executive and describes himself on his website as “The Hip Hop Dr. Phil” and “Tupac meets Deepak.”
The incident took place the evening of April 12 in the 5150 Show’s recording studio, “located in a storage facility in Van Nuys, California,” the lawsuit states.
Spears and the show hosts engaged in what Spears later described as “barbershop” conversation. Toward the end of the two hours, “Defendant Williams was given an opportunity to speak” and “became agitated at Mr. Spears as they sat adjacent to one another.”
According to news accounts, the two were discussing President Barack Obama when Spears interrupted Williams, leading Williams to respond, “Shut the fuck up.”
That prompted Spears to make comments comparing skin tones of black people, including saying that “light-skinned n—s” are loud, according to TMZ and others.
On the video, when Williams threatened Spears, Spears announced he was drunk and would do better in a fight. Moments later, Williams stood up and apparently began punching.
Sometime after the show, host Holcomb issued a tweet to Spears: “Be a man & own up. My squad is willing to give you a drunk pass & move on.”
Meiselas said his client was not drunk. “He was doing what he was paid to do – telling jokes. In a civilized society, you don’t throw punches [over jokes]. Violence is not the response to comedy,” he said.
Williams posted a “public apology” on his website addressed “to those who were present, and to those that respect me as a man and a mentor.”
He added, “As adults, matters should try to be handled by more civil means, and confrontation, be it physical or verbal, should never be the solution – even when you are being provoked.”
Spears says he “suffered several contusions and injuries to his face, neck, and left wrist” that forced him to cancel four scheduled stand-up appearances in Ohio.
He seeks unspecified damages, including punitive damages, on claims of assault, battery, infliction of emotional distress, negligence and negligent hiring and supervision.
An email sent to Williams through the show’s website was not returned by press time.