Everything was going smoothly at W.i.P nightclub in SoHo on Wednesday night until around 4 a.m., when a brawl between Chris Brown and Drake broke out, sending patrons to the hospital and resulting in police being called.
Now both parties are blaming each other for what happened in the club, but industry insiders are saying it’s the club that is to blame.
Both Chris Brown and Drake have had romantic ties to Rihanna.
"The Drake-Chris Brown brawl is an unfortunate incident which shouldn't result in any lifetime bans for either celebrity," Ronn Torossian, CEO of public relations firm 5WPR and author of "For Immediate Release," told me. "No one should overreact.”
“Anytime there is alcohol and nightlife, whether it’s $2,000 bottles or a dive bar, there is bound to be occasional fisticuffs and random stupidity," Torossian said. "The nightclub in question recently changed ownership and one wonders if they had proper security arrangements in place."
"Nightclubs and other venues which cater to celebrities are often made aware of what celebrities and entourages will be arriving and do an excellent job of ensuring that certain celebrities are kept apart from one another, seated far from one another to lessen the likelihood of disputes,” he added.
Torossian is not alone in his opinion. Noah Tepperberg, who runs some of the most successful venues around the world, including Marquee and Avenue, said that neither Chris nor Drake has been banned from his venues.
"Operators and owners should always take the proper security measures to protect their guests and preventative measures to minimize situations prior to them escalating to ensure guest safety at all times," said Matt Levine, owner of Sons of Essex in Manhattan's Lower East Side. "In the hospitality business, you can't predict the future, but you can diffuse potential hazards before they amplify."
Insiders told me that Drake had dinner at Sons of Essex on Friday. Seated in a packed dining room, Drake and his guests had dinner for three hours without incident.
Raphael Chejade-Bloom, managing partner of Gerber Group, also refused to blame Chris and Drake for the incident.
“The onus should be on the venue, not specific patrons," Chejade-Bloom said. "This is not the first fight to happen in a nightclub or the last,” he said.
“Instead of passing sweeping judgment on individuals, it is probably more effective to focus on internal operations such as security, flow and staff training to avoid these situations."
Calls to W.i.P for comment were not returned.
The club was closed on Sunday, according to the Associated Press.
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CORRECTION: In a previous version of this story, a quote from Matt Levine was incorrectly attributed to Noah Tepperberg. The correct attribution is reflected above.