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POP MUSIC | Pop Eye

Back In Anger

November 15, 1998|DAVE JENNINGS, from London

The latest arrest of Oasis' Liam Gallagher, this one for alleged "criminal damage" to a photographer's equipment, has spurred a bitter battle of words between accuser Mel Bouzar and the band's English label, Creation Records.

Where label officials usually are cautious in commenting on such incidents, Creation issued a press release last week that was very direct, charging that Gallagher was the victim of a "paparazzi sting" set up by Bouzar. The statement says that the photographer stalked the singer during the day of the incident and that he called the police with a false report of an assault, snapping pictures of the arrest and later selling them to a tabloid.

Reached by music weekly Melody Maker, the 19-year-old Bouzar angrily refuted the statement, saying that he had never stalked Gallagher and only happened to stumble on him while returning from a photo session, only to be attacked by the singer. Bouzar says the aggravation stemming from the incident has made him "ill with stress" and caused him to miss work.

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