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Gym Class Heroes Frontman Arrested For Assault After Reacting to Racial Slur

July 2, 2008 10:38 AM ET

Gym Class Heroes lead singer Travis McCoy was arrested last night in St. Louis on one charge of third-degree assault. The punk-hop group had just finished the first song of their Warped Tour set, "Peace Sign," when a black audience member near the front row called the New York-based singer a "fucking ignorant nigger."

McCoy calmly asked the man, "What did you just call me?" As security was removing him from the crowd, the frontman reached down and broke his microphone over the man's head. McCoy immediately apologized for his reaction and said it wasn't representative of him as a person. "I'm sorry. But when someone calls you something that ignorant and that offensive, you have to bash their head in with a microphone," said McCoy. The audience cheered as the man in question was carried away by security. Local police are not releasing the victim's name at this time.

McCoy was arrested onstage at the end of his set. He was released early this morning on $500 bond, and this afternoon the band's manager, Bob McLynn, issued a statement that reads, "Somebody in the crowd was taunting Travis with racial slurs. Travis invited him onstage with the intent of calling him out in front of the crowd, with absolutely no intention of a physical altercation. When he tried to help him onstage, the guy hit Travis in the knee area (which has been in a brace because of a recent sprain), forcing Travis to defend himself. At this point, a scuffle broke out. This whole incident is unfortunate. Travis McCoy and Gym Class Heroes are anything but violent. Their message is about racial unity and having a good time. It's amazing that in 2008 there are still people out there that would say such ignorant things." McLynn adds that McCoy has apologized to the Warped Tour's founder and the band's fans.

This is not the first of Gym Class Heroes' legal woes. In March of last year, drummer Matt McGinley was arrested in Mexico and detained over night on suspicion of breaking and entering when he drunkenly stumbled into a private condominium.

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Song Stories

“Whoomp! (There It Is)”

Tag Team | 1993

Cecil Glenn — a.k.a., "D.C." — was a cook at Magic City, a nude dance club in Atlanta, when he first heard women shout "Whoomp — there it is!" Inspired by the party chant, he and partner Steve "Roll'n" Gibson wrote a song around it. Undaunted by label rejections, they borrowed $2,500 from Glenn's parents and pressed 800 singles, which quickly sold out in the Atlanta area. A record deal came soon after. Glenn said the song was meant for positive partying. "If you're going to say 'Whoomp there it is,' and you're doing something negative, we'd rather it not have come out of your mouth."

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