Arrests follow stampede at Top Model auditions

Auditions for America’s Next Top Model 13 in New York City were closed after models stampeded and injured each other, freaking out over a smoking car they thought was a bomb. Besides those treated at the scene, two people were hospitalized and three were arrested for inciting a riot.

Thousands of women under 5’7”, the show’s new height requirement, “slept overnight outside the Park Central Hotel” before the Saturday auditions, but Saturday morning, “women began arriving and lining up indiscriminately” which led to high tension, the New York Daily News reports. “Cops arrived and placed barricades along the street. But by that point, there were already several thousand women lined up. A handful of women started fainting after getting pressed up against the wall, witnesses said.”

Two men started fighting and “[c]ops intervened and pulled the men off the line. One of them threatened to return with a gun, heightening tensions among the already-frazzled women,” and then “a black BMW with smoke pouring out of its hood pulled up in the street near the line.”

That led to a near-riot. “The girls were running like it was 9/11 part two. I feared for my life,” Jennifer Brown told the paper. A prospective model named Rose said, “We all fell on top of each other. People were squished against the wall, screaming, ‘I can’t breathe! I can’t breathe!’”

The paper reports that police “arrested three people: Clem Clemmons, 40; Vanessa Quiones, 20, and Michael Edwards. All were charged with inciting a riot.”

What exactly were all these women so desperate to do? If the New York auditions were anything like the auditions that took place on Tuesday in Denver, not much. The women had “less than a minute, all told” during which they “introduced themselves, explained why they were the next top model and did a little walk on the cat walk,” according to Westword, which reports that the people filming the auditions weren’t even casting producers, but “the guys who make commercials for the local affiliate.”

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