The Reaction to Megan Thee Stallion’s Alleged Shooting Is Misogynoir in Action: Experts

The “WAP” artist alleged she was shot by Canadian rapper Tory Lanez. Advocates say the mocking reactions show how violence against Black women isn’t taken seriously.
Megan Thee Stallion
Megan Thee Stallion alleged Toronto rapper Tory Lanez shot her. Photo by Cassidy Sparrow/Getty Images for MAXIM

The backlash to Cardi B and Megan Thee Stallion’s horny summer anthem “WAP” was swift and predictable, with right-wing pundits expressing shock-horror that two women could so explicitly assert their sexuality.

But as the song continues to break records and spark TikTok challenges, the reaction to the alleged shooting of Megan Thee Stallion by Toronto rapper Tory Lanez has been noticeably quieter—and mocking in tone.

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Black women’s advocates told VICE News the fallout is an example of how violence against Black women isn’t taken seriously.

During an Instagram live on August 20, Megan Thee Stallion, whose legal name is Megan Pete, alleged Tory Lanez, whose real name Daystar Peterson, shot her feet after a party on July 11.

“Tory shot me. You shot me and you got your publicist and your people going to these blogs lying and shit. Stop lying,” Pete said.

She said was in a car with Peterson and two other people and that the four of them were arguing when she left the vehicle.

“I get out. I’m walking away. This n***a from out the back seat of the car started shooting me. You shot me. I ain’t get cut by no glass,” she said.

Brampton rapper Tory Lanez

Tory Lanez has not publicly responded to the allegation that he shot Megan Thee Stallion. Photo by Erik Voake/Getty Images for Roc Nation

At the time, Los Angeles police arrested and charged Peterson with a concealed firearms offence. Early reports stated that Pete’s feet were injured by glass.

Pete said she wasn’t initially forthcoming with police because she was scared of them for “killing Black people for no motherfucking reason.”

“You want me to tell the laws that we got a gun in the car so they can shoot all of us?” she said. “I ain’t tell the police what happened immediately right then cause I didn't want to die.”

In an earlier Instagram live, Pete teared up as she said she was shot in both of her feet and required surgery.

“It was super scary, it was just the worst experience of my life,” she said. “I didn’t deserve to get shot.”

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She also addressed some of the mockery she’s faced in light of the alleged shooting, which includes memes posted by 50 Cent (who has since apologized) and Cam’ron. 

“It’s not funny. There’s nothing to joke about,” she said.

The reaction has also veered into victim blaming.

Former NFL player Larry Johnson tweeted, “Ladies, if you date a man who coined the term ‘Demon Time,’ and you get shot by him during Demon Hours, be accountable for YOUR stupidity. #toreylanez.”

Angela Marie MacDougall, executive director of the Vancouver-based Battered Women’s Support Services, said gun violence is “brutal”—a point that seems to be lost on the people making a joke about the allegations.

“To think about a friend shooting you when you’re leaving a vehicle is horrifying under whatever circumstances,” she said.

MacDougall said Black women are rarely seen as victims, but are instead treated as if they are deserving of violence.

“It grows out of this idea about our humanity and that we are seen as less than human, not actually women, some other kind of non-human species.”

A 2019 report from the Georgetown Law’s Center on Poverty and Inequality found that Black girls are regularly subjected to “adultification bias,” where they are viewed as less innocent than their white peers, and less deserving of protection.

maya finoh, an organizer and cultural worker, said this perception is rooted in slavery, when Black women and girls were systemically raped.

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“It feels like people attempt to justify or attempt to brush off pain or violence against Black women by using stereotypes of hypersexualization. They’re fast and promiscuous and therefore they deserve what they got,” finoh said.

finoh said they think there is a hesitation to talk about the allegation that Peterson shot Pete because Black men also experience racialized violence, particularly at the hands of police. They pointed to the fact that alleged serial sexual predator R. Kelly escaped scrutiny for years, despite evidence that he was preying on young girls.

“There isn't enough of a conversation of the nuance that you can be a victim and an oppressor,” they said.

Both finoh and MacDougall said the situation bears the hallmarks of misogynoir, a term coined by Black queer feminist scholar Moya Bailey to describe “the ways that anti-Blackness and misogyny combine to malign Black women in our world.” They said the issue is likely compounded by Pete’s ownership of her sexuality.

MacDougall said the reaction would likely have been very different if Peterson had been accused of shooting a famous white woman, because there is a stereotype that Black men are “more inherently violent than other populations of men.”

“Had a white woman who had the prominence the cultural and social prominence had come out and alleged this, we would have of course a different reaction,” she said.

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finoh said there are many cis and trans Black women who are victimized but don’t have Pete’s status.

According to the National Center for Transgender Equality, at least 28 trans people were murdered in the U.S. in 2020 and Black and Latina women are particularly at risk.

“[Megan Thee Stallion] is a Black woman with a lot of money and a lot of clout, a lot of accolades and she’s still not receiving respect and general humanity,” finoh said. “I would like for people to reflect on what this means for other Black women.”

VICE News has reached out to Peterson’s management team for comment but has not yet heard back. Peterson has not publicly commented on the accusations against him, however his team reportedly said he has not been deported back to Canada.

Immigration lawyer Kevin Jones said Peterson is unlikely to be deported, even if convicted.

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