Fight Breaks Out at IMS Engage Conference

Zel McCarthy
DJ BL3ND manager Steven Haddad and Diplo manager Kevin Kusatsu tussle at the IMS Engage Conference in Los Angeles Wednesday

A fistfight broke out at the IMS Engage conference between representatives of Hashtag Management and Diplo manager Kevin Kusatsu, after a panel pairing Instagram founder Kevin Systrom and Diplo.

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During the panel, Diplo hinted that DJ BL3ND -- a social media phenom with over 133K Twitter followers and three million Facebook fans -- might have purchased some of those fans, claiming that “he only plays shows in the OC.”

During the Q&A period after the panel, Hashtag Management founder and DJ BL3ND manager Steven Haddad addressed Diplo from the audience, saying that BL3ND had sold out events in New York and “hadn’t even played in the OC” in awhile. From the back of the room, Kusatsu shouted “Shut up,” seemingly unprovoked and out of context. But Diplo backtracked graciously, and gave BL3ND props for some of his early YouTube videos.

After the panel was over, Haddad and Kusatsu seemed to be having a civil conversation at the side of the room before an aggressive fight began very quickly. It was unclear who threw the first punch, but Satien Mehta of Haddad's Hashtag Management -- who was standing next to Haddad -- was involved during the altercation. The men had to be forcibly separated and continued to go at each other after IMS officials intervened.

Haddad returned to the hall after the fight and was seen speaking with security. Kusatsu did not reappear.

Haddad told Billboard that he had no previous beef with TMWRK, Diplo, or Kusatsu, and he had even purchased Diplo outfit Major Lazer’s album “Free The Universe” upon its release the previous day. Kusatsu could not be reached for comment.


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