Cannes Film Festival 2024 security guard who clashed with Kelly Rowland puts fourth celebrity in a bear hug

Cannes Film Festival 2024 security guard who clashed with Kelly Rowland puts fourth celebrity in a bear hug

The Cannes Film Festival 2024 has been making headlines for more than just its glamorous red carpet and star-studded premieres. A female security guard, who has already clashed with several celebrities, has gone viral once again. This time, footage has emerged of her putting another star in a bear hug, adding to the controversy surrounding her actions.

The unidentified guard has faced significant online backlash after separate, heated altercations with high-profile guests, including Dominican actor Massiel Taveras, former Destiny’s Child star Kelly Rowland, and K-Pop sensation Yoona. The latest incident was captured and posted by Sawa Pontyjska, a Ukrainian model and Miss Europe 2023, who attended the festival last week.

Several videos circulating on social media, shared by Pontyjska on TikTok and Instagram, show the model tussling with the same female guard. The footage depicts the guard wrapping her arms around Pontyjska at the top of the red-carpeted stairs. The pair struggle back and forth, with Pontyjska dropping to the floor at one point. She attempts to escape back down the steps but is blocked by other members of staff.

Colleagues of the female guard previously told The Daily Mail that she was “just doing her job,” though many online have called for her to be fired. In a clip that resurfaced this week, Yoona, who was in the K-Pop group Girls’ Generation before becoming an actor, is seen being approached by the security guard and blocked from taking photos. The guard keeps her arm outstretched, making it difficult for Yoona to stop or wave to fans. Though she continues to move, Yoona appears surprised and uncomfortable during the interaction.

In a video posted last week, Kelly Rowland, 43, was seen scolding the guard in a heated interaction. Rowland, who is Black, noted that other women on the carpet who “did not look quite like me” were not treated in the same way. “The woman knows what happened; I know what happened,” Rowland told AP Entertainment. “I have a boundary, and I stand by those boundaries and that is it. And there were other women who attended that carpet, who did not look quite like me. And they didn’t get scolded, or pushed off or told to get off. And I stood my ground, and she felt like she had to stand hers. But I stood my ground.”

During the altercation with Massiel Taveras, the same guard was seen placing her arm over the TV presenter’s head and chest as she attempted to usher her inside. Taveras then turned around and seemingly placed her hand over the guard’s face in retaliation and shoved her. Taveras, who has starred in films including “The Other Penelope,” has reposted articles with Rowland’s comments about the same red carpet security guard to her Instagram story and later said she had reacted strongly because she was “tired of the abuse.”

Addressing Rowland in an Instagram post, Taveras wrote: “I’m impressed how you handled sister, I didn’t know that happened to you first. I was very impressed how calm and genteel you were because in my case I was tired of the abuse. —BLACK WOMAN MATTERS— we are not going to be in silence on situations like that, we need respect.”

Colleagues of the security guard told The Daily Mail that she was “just doing her job.” It is understood that the usher is a local Frenchwoman on a short-term contract with the festival. A source told the Mail that the guard was “working under a lot of pressure” to keep those on the carpet moving and that allegations of racism or discrimination were “ridiculous.”

The Independent has emailed the Cannes Film Festival for comment on the incidents with Pontyjska, Yoona, Taveras, and Rowland. The festival has yet to respond to the growing controversy.

The Cannes usher, who previously clashed with Kelly Rowland, got into another heated exchange with Dominican actress Massiel Taveras during the film festival. Taveras, frustrated by the usher while arranging her gown’s train, went as far as shoving the French woman. The actress later celebrated the gown’s depiction of Jesus on Instagram, noting its historical significance at Cannes.

The shocking incident comes after Rowland’s viral altercation with the same usher, who was accused of unfairly targeting women of color. In the now-viral clip, Taveras is seen arranging the lengthy train of her gown, which featured a prominent portrait of Jesus, on the red carpet stairs when the security officer hurried her along. While being guided by multiple ushers, the “El Encuentro” actress kept trying to spread her Jesus cape-like train across the grand stairs of the Cannes Film Festival in order to get the perfect shot.

Once at the top of the stairs, Taveras again tried to spread out her gown’s train for photos, but the female usher blocked the actress with her arm, mirroring her actions during the Rowland incident. The situation then escalated when the usher put an arm around Taveras in an attempt to move her away, which prompted the actress to shove her.

After the incident, Taveras shared photos from the Cannes event on Instagram. In the caption, she wrote, “This is the first time in 77 years of the great Cannes festival that Jesus is exhibited on this stage, and it is the first time that a work of art by Dominicanos is published and valued by the legendary magazine #vanityfairitalia #vanityfairitaly.”

She continued: “El Cristo’ is the most shocking love story of all time, and today it made history again. Come and see this.”

“The 22nd was a big night—the premiere of ‘The Count of Monte Cristo’ was exquisite and unforgettable. I’m still in Cannes, France, as the festival agenda continues until tomorrow. I’ll be here for a few more days, marveling at what God has accomplished through ‘The Christ,” Taveras added.

The new footage comes just days after Rowland’s video with the security guard went viral during the “Marcello Mio” premiere. In an interview with the Associated Press at the amfAR Cannes Gala, the “Mea Culpa” actress addressed her encounter with the Cannes usher, stating, “The woman knows what happened, I know what happened, and I have a boundary. I stand by those boundaries, and that is it.”

She added, “There were other women on that carpet who did not quite look like me. They didn’t get scolded or pushed off or told to get off. And I stood my ground and she felt like she needed to stand hers.”

Fans have also expressed their outrage over the French usher’s actions, with many demanding for her to get fired. One person noted, “They need to fire that racist security woman because she keeps harassing every woman of color at Cannes while the two white ladies aren’t being rushed at all.”

Another fan added, “I think it’s official now. Europe is back to being the most disgustingly racist continent…this is actually disturbing.”

“I really want to know if @cannes has even bothered responding to any of this. If they haven’t, it speaks volumes,” a third individual commented.

After Rowland hinted at racism during her interview, colleagues of the Cannes usher came to her defense, asserting she was simply performing her duties. Other security personnel at the heavily policed event also supported the usher’s actions as appropriate.

“She was an usher working under a lot of pressure to keep people on the carpet moving, to stop crowds building up,” an insider told the DailyMail. “There was no pushing or shoving or scolding. Security and safety are the priorities, along with keeping to strict timetables set according to contracts – even the celebrities have to stick to the rules.”

“Lots of ushers are involved, and they always act professionally and with politeness,” the source added. “In this case, the usher was certainly only doing her job – she didn’t do anything wrong.”

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