(KRON) — Bay Area rapper and celebrity E-40 was escorted out of the Golden 1 Center by security during the first playoff game between the Golden State Warriors and the Sacramento Kings on Saturday night.
Video shows as the rapper, whose government name is Earl Stevens, clad in a gold chain, diamond earrings and sunglasses, had both hands held behind his back at one point as he was leaving the arena. Fans clad in Kings colors smiled and waved as E-40 was escorted out. Some fans pulled out their phones and took videos of the chaos as boos can be heard from the crowd.
E-40 was reportedly standing during a significant portion of the game, which appeared to block some of the guests sitting behind him. Several people complained to arena officials; E-40 was warned, but the standing reportedly continued.
E-40 tells KRON4 he was heckled in “disrespectful” ways during the course of the game. During the fourth quarter, he turned around and “addressed” one heckler in an “assertive but polite manner,” he says.
Not long after, security guards told the rapper he needed to leave. In a statement to KRON4, he says race played a role in the incident:
Unfortunately, it was yet another reminder that — despite my success and accolades as a musician and entrepreneur — racial bias remains prevalent. Security saw a disagreement between a Black man and a white woman and immediately assumed that I was at fault.
I’ve attended countless NBA games throughout my lifetime and have always prided myself in my professionalism, so this experience has been jarring. I was absolutely humiliated by the Kings’ security team and I’m calling on the franchise to investigate the appalling conduct that transpired.
I’m truly grateful for my fans and supporters who have reached out to express their concern and disappointment regarding these disheartening circumstances and I hope those involved are held accountable for their behavior. — E-40
KRON4 reached out to officials with the Golden 1 Center for comment on the incident but has not heard back. The Kings ultimately defeated the Warriors in the heated matchup, with a final score of 126-123.
The Sacramento Kings shared the following statement with KTXL:
The Sacramento Kings take these claims seriously and are investigating the facts and circumstances regarding the situation, as we do anytime an accusation like this is made.
“It’s unfortunate,” Warriors guard Klay Thompson said. “I love 40. He’s been our biggest supporter for years. I hope they right that ship because he deserves to be there by our bench. In my time knowing him, he’s always been respectful. He’s always been considerate of those around him. Very weird to see, and I hope it’s resolved.”
E-40 is known for his collaborations with other artists, including on songs such as “I Don’t (Expletive) With You” with Big Sean, “Snap Yo Fingers” with Lil Jon and Sean Paul of YoungBloodZ, and “U And Dat” with T-Pain and Kandi Girl.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.