Australian influencer Anna Paul has spoken out about the importance of keeping her fans safe after a recent meet and greet with her was shut down by the police due to large crowds collapsing into and pushing each other.
In Perth, Australia on 28 August, the OnlyFans fans and TikTok creator hosted an event to launch her newest merchandise in collaboration with the clothing line Stax.
Multiple fans who attended the meet and greet later shared videos from it, including influencer Christian Shay. His clip showed fans screaming Paul’s name while they jumped up and down. All guests were then seen leaving the event as the police had shut it down.
In one clip posted by TikTok user @nottahliadaniele2, two fans shared more details about the incident and how there was a lot of pushing and shoving, which made it difficult for them to breathe. TikToker @zoeyeyeee even posted a video about how she spent hours in line and was later sent the ER because she had fainted.
On her own TikTok, Paul noted how important it was that “nobody got seriously injured”. She went on to explain that because more fans came to the event in Sydney and Melbourne, extra security was hired for the one in Perth.
She added that the event was “good for the first 20 minutes” until the police told her they had to stop it.
“The cops said: ‘Okay, we have to shut this down. There’s too many people. We have never seen anything like this. The last time we saw something like this was for a Justin Bieber concert…We need to shut this down for safety reasons,’” she recalled.
Paul said that while the owner of Stax offered to bring in more security, the police still insisted on shutting the event down. She also emphasised how she agreed with the cops’ request for sake of her fans’ safety.
“The reason that we then worked with the police to shut it down as soon as possible is because we didn’t want anything bad happening, because your safety is our number one priority,” the TikToker told her 5m followers. “We were so disappointed and we feel like we let you down.”
“We wanted to make the event free,” she continued. “We didn’t want you to have to pay to see us, but it should have been ticketed and we know that now. And in the future, we will definitely be organising for a way bigger crowd.”
Speaking to Insider about attending the event, 23-year-old Lucy Marshall talked candidly about the chaos among fans before the meet and greet was shut down.
“Once the cops came out and announced it was over I was crying and pretty shocked at how it ended,” she said. “I couldn’t move in the crowd, people were spitting gum at one another, fights nearly started from people pushing in and I witnessed one person faint.”
In a statement to Insider, the Western Australia police said that there were more guests than expected and that ambulance services were requested when multiple people “collapsed and required medical assistance”.
“Due to the size of the crowd and lack of appropriate security and other event planning in place to cope with the larger than expected crowd, and in consultation with the store management, the event was closed down and police commenced dispersing the crowd from the area,” the statement said.
The Independent has reached out to Paul and Stax for comment.