- Socialite Franci Neely was caught on video berating a couple for staging a photoshoot of their 1-year-old daughter’s birthday on a scenic Houston sidewalk.
- A video of her meltdown went viral, and she’s drawn comparisons to “BBQ Becky.”
- It’s perfectly legal to take photos in the area, which is a popular spot in Houston.
- Neely apologized but still blamed the couple.
On Saturday, Kelyn and Isaiah Allen went to a popular scenic sidewalk in Houston for a photoshoot of their 1-year-old daughter’s birthday. They brought a fuzzy pink blanket and a giant golden “1” balloon, and made sure that people jogging or walking their dogs could go around them.
About halfway through the shoot, Franci Neely, a socialite most famous for reportedly receiving $30 million in her divorce from the owner of the Houston Astros baseball team, approached the family and told them to move on. In a video captured of the incident, Neely can be seen getting into a shouting match with the couple, kicking away photoshoot props, and smacking Isaiah Allen’s camera.
“You are trampling the grass that WE pay for,” she can be seen saying on the video.
Kelyn Allen posted a clip of the incident to Facebook on Monday, and it soon went viral. Neely garnered comparisons to “BBQ Becky,” the nickname for a woman who famously called the police on a black family grilling in a public park.
According to the Houston Press, the Allen family spoke to the police, who confirmed they did not break the law. The police later filed a report but did not press charges, the Press reported.
The sidewalk, on North Boulevard, is a popular photo spot. It hosts around 50 photoshoots a week, according to the Digital Photography Review. Some homeowners in the area unsuccessfully tried to ban photoshoots there in 2017, but the city of Houston affirmed that photoshoots are permitted as long as no one blocks the sidewalks.
In a statement given to local news outlets, Neely apologized for getting upset, but stil blamed the couple staging the shoot.
“I am very sorry that I got upset on late Saturday afternoon. Putting it in context, however: I saw three commercial photography shoots in one block at the same time, something that happens frequently,” she said. “When I explained the situation to the first and third groups, they were respectful. The couple whose photo shoot obstructed the walkway was not. It’s hard to remain composed when confronted by shouted threats of lawsuits and false, inflammatory accusations.”