tampabay.com

Singer apologizes for onstage antics with underage fan

By ASSOCIATED PRESS
Published May 10, 2007


NEW YORK - Akon, under fire for doing a sexually explicit dance onstage with a 14-year-old girl, has offered an apology to the teen and anyone else who was offended by the display.

Akon, whose hits include Don't Matter, I Wanna Love You with Snoop Dogg and Smack That with Eminem, was videotaped simulating sex with a girl invited onstage as part of his act during an April 12 concert in Trinidad. After the video was circulated widely on the Internet, it was revealed that she was 14.

Since then, Verizon has pulled out as a sponsor of his tour with Gwen Stefani, for whom he wrote the hit The Sweet Escape. The tour stopped at the Ford Amphitheatre in Tampa on Tuesday.

In a statement released Wednesday, Akon, 34, said he was sorry but that he didn't know the girl was underage.

"I want to sincerely apologize for the embarrassment and any pain I've caused to the young woman who joined me onstage, her family and the Trinidad community for the events at my concert, " Akon said.

"It was never my intention to embarrass or take advantage of my fans in any way, especially those under the age of 18. That is why we tried to make sure that the club did not admit anyone under 18 in the audience. Somehow, that standard was not met."