By Jeremy Blacklow
The story of Miguel's leap across the crowd in May at the Billboard Music Awards is far from over. At least one woman, Khyati Shah, says she was badly injured when the "Adorn" singer crashed into the crowd during his performance.
Not much was known about Ms. Shah before now, but we now know that she's a full-time foreign exchange student here from New Zealand, studying for a double degree in politics and philosophy at UCLA.
Yahoo! Music caught up with her attorney, Vip Bhola, to learn more about the status of her health situation.
We've reached out to representatives for both Miguel and the Billboard Music Awards, neither of which have issued comments regarding Mr. Bhola's claims at this time.
What's the status of your client, Khyati Shah's, health?
In terms of how Khyati's doing…she's a 4.0 student, so she has been doing well in school. She's got final exams this week and she's experiencing some memory loss, among other types of issues, and she's not going to be able to sit for her exams this week. So, we're concerned about that because it will obviously have an impact on her education right now and potentially her future.
She was supposed to return home to New Zealand at the end of the month — at the end of the semester — and she's not going to be able to. She's likely going to have to postpone that trip. So, that's putting tremendous pressure on her because she's got to find a place to stay once the semester's over, and she's not exactly sure how she's going to pay for that. So, it's a lot of stress and anxiety that she's not exactly prepared for.
Medical providers that she has seen already have told her that she needs to see a specialist, and that's what she's in the process of doing. She's seen general doctors so far, and she has been recommended now to see a specialized neurologist.
So there's been no formal diagnosis so far as to the status of her condition, is that correct?
That's correct. She's undergoing evaluations with a neurologist as well as testing at a hospital, as I understand it.
What's the status of the legal situation? Are you planning a lawsuit?
That really depends on, shall we say, "Team Miguel," and to use that term I'm encompassing Miguel, his attorneys, the production company and all of them. They're the ones who are going to determine if this is going to have to become a lawsuit or not. Khyati's desire would be to resolve this without any incident or without any formal proceedings. But I'm not getting that type of reciprocity from the other side.
For example, there have been reports in the media that Miguel was told by the production company during rehearsals that he couldn't do that jump and that he did it anyways. He was told it was something that would be a danger to people and he decided to do it notwithstanding that. I tried to confirm that with the production company and with their attorneys, and they're refusing to either confirm it or deny it, or give me any information. That's something that would be important in making that type of determination. But I'm not getting that sort of cooperation.
And when they take that sort of a posture of stonewalling somebody who's seeking information, it tends to force things towards a lawsuit. They're taking a position that, "We're not going to say anything unless we're in the context of a lawsuit," and it forces that issue. And Khyati and I are trying to avoid that.
When was the last time you or your client heard from anyone on Team Miguel — either the producers or his representation?
It would have been within the past couple of business days, around last Friday. I spoke with the attorneys from the production company and I sought to confirm or deny the reports that I had seen in the media. They refused to do it. Neither the attorneys nor the production company would confirm or deny. With regards to Miguel's attorney, I've read reports in the media that they've offered assistance to myself and to Khyati. They've never offered any assistance like that.
To your knowledge, was anyone else besides your client hurt during the incident? Have you been in contact with any of [the others]?
No, I haven't been in contact with anyone else, so I really don't know how they're doing.
How did you connect with your client?
A friend of hers was speaking with her, and because she's a foreign exchange student from New Zealand, she was looking for somebody that she could trust. She didn't know a lot of people here, so her friend referred her to me as someone she could trust.
Right after the incident, your client accompanied Miguel backstage for an interview after the show. Was that her idea? Or Miguel's? Did his team suggest that? And how was she feeling then?
That was absolutely not her idea. In fact, I think it was offensive, the way that they handled that. Instead of rushing her to the hospital, they put her in front of a camera with a microphone. She was starstruck and put on the spot and still in shock from her head injury — and then Miguel's there saying, "Thank goodness my new friend is okay."
It was offensive and it was something that they did, in my opinion, merely to try to make themselves look good…and perhaps bolster themselves in anticipation of a lawsuit, rather than looking out for Khyati's best interests and getting her medical attention right away.
Miguel tweeted that night that he "got caught up in the moment, thank goodness Khyati is okay," but then later deleted that tweet. Will you be focusing at all on that tweet in your future legal actions, and what do you take away from it?
Well, what I take away from that tweet is that Miguel was not concerned about Khyati at all. He was concerned about himself. He had no medical basis to say that she was okay. They hadn't even taken her to a doctor. That's the first thing I take out of it.
The second thing that I take out of it is a great deal of concern, because there have been those reports in the media that the production company warned Miguel not to do the jump and he did it anyways. If that's true, his statement or his tweet is really false. It's putting out false information. It's something that was pre-planned and pre-meditated. It would then be something he was told not to do but he did anyways, and that's extremely troubling. And it wouldn't necessarily be just a negligent act; it could rise to a much higher level, depending on whether or not those reports are true.
Anything further to add?
Well, Khyati was very excited to go to the awards show and have a good time, not wanting to end up being battered by a performer who was looking to make himself look spectacular and dynamic. Anyone who has seen the video can see what happened. They say a picture's worth a thousand words, and if it is, how much do you think a video is worth? I think the video says it all.