The Downfall of Katt Williams: From Prison to Sucker Punching 7th Graders

From multiple stints in jail to accusations of torture—what is behind the downfall of the once-beloved comedian?

03.24.16 5:15 PM ET

Whatever it was that compelled Katt Williams to show up at outside a Gainesville, Georgia housing project earlier this week, doling out cash, playing pick-up soccer and surrounding himself with pre-teen kids, may never be fully understood.

Moreover, whatever prompted the pimp-slick stand-up comedian to sucker punch a seventh-grade boy in that situation is even less knowable, insofar as it happened without the benefit of proper cell phone video documentation and reliable witnesses have yet to step forward.

But thanks to a fragmentary, 90-second video clip of Williams’ latest wilding-the-fuck-out run-in that began making the social media rounds late Tuesday night, damage to the 42-year-old’s reputation has been both heavy and irrevocable. 

In the footage, a middle schooler identified in some reports as “Luke” seems to respond to Williams’ out-of-nowhere jab to the mouth with his own counter attack. Quickly getting the better of the comedian, Luke twists him up with a mixed martial arts move known as a rear naked choke and, falling to the ground, Williams cries uncle. “Tap,” the 5-foot-5 funnyman says by way of submission. “Tap, little boy.” 

Influential drive time DJ Charlemagne The God of New York’s Power 105.1 FM wasted no time anointing Wiliams “Donkey of the Day” on Wednesday morning. “Katt Williams had a close range sucker punch, hit him flush on the jaw and that little boy wasn’t even tickled,” Charlemagne said on the air. “Katt Williams was manhandled by a kid. He got little boy handled!” 

On Twitter, the reactions were even more merciless. 

“Katt Williams got detention for having a fight during recess,” tweeted @StarburryMike.

“You either die a hero, or live long enough to get choked out by a teen in a pink polo shirt,” added @FILMDRUNK.

“Starting to think Katt Williams really hates not being in jail,” tweeted @VineMayne.

Given Williams’ litany of recent legal woes, schadenfreude may be the least of his worries. 

As of this writing, Atlanta law enforcement officials have reviewed the video and launched a criminal investigation of the Scary Movie 5 co-star—he was out on bail for assault, drugs and weapons charges at the time of his schoolyard tussle. Now, according to TMZ, police are reviewing Williams’ bail order to determine if his bail should be revoked.

Thanks to the kind of tough-talking, streetwise, f-bomb laden stand-up for which the comedian is known, you’d be forgiven for trying to interpret his behavior within the context of “When keeping it real goes wrong.” But a closer read reveals something more pathological than celebrity malfeasance. 

Rewind back to Feb. 28 when five women came forward to allege Williams—government name: Micah Williams—and 15 members of his entourage and security team attacked them and stole their cell phones. Williams, for his part, said the women harassed and filmed him without his consent, then “became irate” and snatched a chain from his neck with led to the fight, according to a police report.

Police made no arrests but have launched an investigation.

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A day later, Williams landed behind bars on misdemeanor battery charges for allegedly throwing a pair of swimming goggles at and punching a Gainesville area pool supply store clerk.

For his part, Williams explained to TMZ that he flew into a rage because the clerk “used the n-word on the last day of Black History Month.

And in a perfect crystallization of Williams’ bone-weary familiarity with police procedure in these predicaments, cops responding to the call found the performer outside “lying on the ground with his hands behind his back as though he was ready to go to jail,” Sgt. Kevin Holbrook said.

On Mar. 2, trouble found Williams again as he attempted to aid victims of a car accident that reportedly occurred outside his Los Angeles hotel. On the scene, he was confronted by a group of “rappers” who allegedly made light of the performer’s less-than-hulking physical stature. According to Williams, one of them punched first—can we observe a pattern here?—and he struck back in self-defense. The upshot? The comedian is now a suspect for misdemeanor battery on both coasts. 

Much like the playground choke out, video footage from Williams’ Mar. 6 altercation at a Philadelphia rap concert featuring Beanie Sigel and Jadakiss paints a portrait of the comedian as an irascible hothead with a penchant for sucker punches—in this case, a sucker elbow. 

In the clip, which achieved a kind of critical mass on, Williams is first shown doing an impressive set of push-ups onstage with the caption “Katt buggin.” Cut to him aggressively posturing during the performance; he assumes a fighting crouch then suddenly leaps across the stage to elbow an apparently unsuspecting man squarely in the face. They go down amid a sea of bodies and Williams is shown being stomped to the ground. No one, however, was arrested.

Among the most serious charges currently facing Williams: the Hall County Sheriff’s Office in Georgia served a search warrant on the comedian’s home in light of claims by one of Williams’ bodyguards, Corey Dixon, that he was choked and beaten with a baseball bat “after he did not engage in criminal activity,” according to investigators. Over the course of the raid, law enforcement discovered “large quantities” of marijuana as well as firearms. He was booked on suspicion of aggravated assault, terroristic threats, false imprisonment and weapons charges and released from jail on a $60,000 bond with orders to stay away from drugs, alcohol and guns.

Leading up to the performer’s humiliation by a middle schooler, the most bizarre and disturbing allegation facing Williams arrived on Mar. 17 when actress Jamila Majesty sued him for emotional distress, battery and false imprisonment stemming from a 2014 incident at his gated Malibu mansion. According to Majesty’s lawsuit, she was repeatedly beaten and tortured by Williams and an entourage of four or five scantily clad female companions for three hours—all because she used his bathroom without permission. In an exclusive interview with Page Six Majesty said that Williams spoke of God while he burned her face with cigarettes and repeatedly shouted, “Are you a Michael Jackson fan?”

The LA County Sheriff’s office and LAPD could not confirm that a complaint was made. Williams has yet to publicly address the incident. But speaking to TMZ earlier this month, he provided a kind of sweeping generalization about the kind of “more celebrity, more problems” outlook that has governed his life.

“I’ve been famous for 20 years and you don’t get to take the blessings and perks of it and then complain about the fact that you can’t go anywhere unnoticed,” Williams said. “It makes you a target.”

Comedian Katt Williams mugshots

Handout/Photo Illustration by The Daily Beast