A prominent Houston socialite was captured on video berating a family for staging a photo shoot on a public trail to celebrate their child’s first birthday.
Kelyn and Isaiah Allen hired a photographer to snap some photos of their daughter to mark the milestone.
“It was something that was supposed to be very special for us,” the mother explained to KPRC News. “I hate the fact that when I look at these pictures, this is what I have to remember.”
The family was taking the photos in Houston’s Broadacres community, on a boulevard that’s popular with local photographers.
“About 35 minutes into our one-hour shoot we heard a voice shouting in our direction,” Allen said in a now-viral Facebook post. “And when we turned to look it was this woman rolling up in her car, shouting through her window ‘You are trampling the grass that we pay for.’”
The woman, identified as Franci Neely — Houston socialite and ex-wife of Astros owner Jim Crane — approached the family barefoot with a small dog under her arm and confronted the family.
“In the midst of her shouting, I immediately and calmly asked her to restrain her dog as it made a beeline for the baby and it was coming dangerously close to my child,” Kelyn wrote. “I actually crouched next to the baby and put my hand out to try to shoo this strange dog away. The lady begins shouting at us that we are on private property, and that she will not restrain her dog because she can do whatever she wants there.”
Video shows Neely swatting at the father’s phone and removing the photo props that were placed on the sidewalk before lashing out at the hired photographer.
“Look at what you’re doing, look at what you’re doing,” the woman said to the photographer. “This is my neighbourhood. And you have brought these people, who are crazy.”
According to KPRC News, the neighbourhood had been a hot topic of discussion in the past with the Broadacres Home Owners Association trying to ban photoshoots on the boulevard.
“We had no idea that taking shots at that location was so contentious. I think had we known, I wouldn’t have gone. Our intention is never to offend anyone … I think it wasn’t worth that,” Allen told the news station.
Neely issued a statement apologizing for losing her cool.
“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.”
The Allen family said they filed a police report and intend to press charges.
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