Scene: Chicago O'Hare International Airport, Monday, something like way-too-early o'clock in the American Airlines terminal. I had just plotted out the finer details of the nap I was going to take on my flight back to Palm Beach when I decided to go to Starbucks. Hot apple cider puts me in a coma no wailing baby can compromise. As the evergeen-aproned barista rang me up, another food court employee sprinted over. "Fat Joe!" she panted. "Fat Joe is here!"
"Oh my God, what?" replied the eloquent barista. "Oh my God, no way."
It was, actually, way. And true too. Part-time Plantation resident Joseph Cartagena ("Fat Joe") was hanging out
in O'Brien's, a restaurant/bar. Even in my bleariness, this was sort of newsworthy, definitely worthy of a witty text message or Twitter post, perhaps a pun about hoping he doesn't "make it rain" lest our flight be delayed due to inclement weather.
But today I found out the real news behind Fat Joe's Midwest swing-through. After a Sunday-night gig in Madison, Wisconsin, the rapper was detained after a 33-year-old woman filed sexual assault claims against members of his crew. They were all released early Monday morning; no arrests were made.
Madison is about a two-and-a-half-hour drive from O'Hare, and quick connecting flights shuttle there from Milwaukee, so it's likely that in O'Brien's, he was exhausted, in addition to pretty disgruntled. The alleged victim told police the assault occurred in Joe's hotel after the show, where she arrived in his limo. That's not good press for the married father of two.
But my dear barista and her restaurant friend did not know this, so when the former asked, "Oh my God, is he signing autographs?" the latter replied, "No, girl."
"He's too arrogant. Too cocky."
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I returned to my seat, hot apple cider in hand and infused with caramel, never imagining that Fat Joe would be boarding my flight too. Joe, I didn't see you on board, because I fell asleep before we took off and I didn't wake until we touched down at PBI, but here's hoping you got a great nap in too -- and thanks for not making it rain.
UPDATE: Below is a statement issued by Fat Joe's lawyer at 11:52 a.m. Interestingly enough, it was dated June 22, 2008.
Rapper Joseph Cartagena, known as Fat Joe, members of his entourage and security staff were briefly questioned by members of the Madison, Wisconsin Police Department who were investigating false allegations made by a woman who initially posed as a fan and later claimed to be the victim of an assault after demanding money.
At no point did Mr. Cartagena or any member of his entourage assault or have any improper contact with the woman. It is truly unfortunate that false allegations such as these cause the public to doubt the claims of actual victims of sexual assaults.