David Tseng, who operates the Morrissey fansite Morrissey-solo.com, admits that he’s a bit rattled by allegations made by a man who claims he worked as a bodyguard for the British pop star.
In a suit filed against Morrissey, Bradley Steyn claims that he was hired by the former Smiths frontman after fans rushed the stage at his shows in San Jose, but he soon learned Morrissey and his handlers allegedly had some criminal intentions.
In the suit, Steyn claims that Morrissey asked if Tseng “could get hurt” and the singer’s tour manager took it a bit further, allegedly asking if he “could be gotten rid off,” and the pair discussed how they could obtain his address. When he refused to partake in the plan, Steyn claims he was fired the next day.
Morrissey issued a statement today (Wednesday) claiming he “cannot admit to actually ‘knowing’” Steyn and called his claims “a vexatious lie.”
“The very idea that I would ask a complete stranger [Bradley Steyn] to physically attack David Tseng surely cannot register with any sane person as being likely,” Morrissey adds in his statement. “As mildly irritating as David Tseng may be, he is not someone who troubles me enough to even bother with.”
Tseng learned of the allegations from a post on his website linking TMZ’s report on the lawsuit on Tuesday night, right before he planned to retire for the evening. At first, he found it kind of funny, but then he began to take it a bit more seriously. “It’s not every day that you get threatened by a pop star or he puts out a hit on you,” Tseng says. “It’s a pretty serious allegation, even criminal, I would think, if it’s true.”
He started the website back in 1997 simply because he was a fan and wanted to create a community for like-minded souls to share information about Morrissey.
This isn’t the first time that he has allegedly raised the ire of Morrissey. About a decade ago, someone in a post on the site claimed they were a member of Morrissey’s touring crew and hadn’t been paid. “I questioned if that was true in an article and [Morrissey] got really upset about that,” Tseng recalls. Morrissey threatened to sue Tseng over the post, but never followed through.
“I think he’s just very cautious about his image,” Tseng adds. “On my site, I post links and items that are interesting to me. If it’s positive or negative, it doesn’t matter. A lot of the negative stuff really bothers him.”
Despite the conflicts, Tseng still considers himself a Morrissey fan. “After you’ve been a fan for at least 10 years, it’s kind of hard to stop,” he says. “I still listen to the music all the time; I’m still very interested in his career and what he’s up to; and the tours, if I can make it in.”
The last comment refers to Tseng’s claim that he’s been “banned for life” from attending Morrissey shows. “I got into a couple of shows this year, but he threw me out of another one,” he says. Tseng says he was first barred from a show in 2011 in Denmark and again last May in Santa Ana, California. “I thought it blew over, but security saw me in line and told me I was 'banned for life.’”
Tseng tried to get a refund for his ticket, but was denied it. “I guess that’s part of the risk of going now.” And if Steyn’s claims are true, there’s even more of a risk now.
Morrissey ends his statement on the matter by writing, “Please note that Bradley Steyn’s statement is now in the hands of the Los Angeles Police Department, and is subject to both criminal and civil action.”
Tseng says he’s also considering contacting the police and/or an attorney on the matter. “I don’t have the resources that [Morrissey] does,” he says. “I didn’t know I was in danger, but now that the word is out, it’s probably less likely, but I’m still going to be careful now.”
Full disclosure: In 1995, David Tseng was hired by LAUNCH Media, the company that eventually became Yahoo! Music. He held a position with Yahoo! until 2013 when he left to pursue other interests. The writer of this post and others still affiliated with the company worked with him and know him.