Socialite Who Yelled at Family for Sidewalk Photo Shoot Apologizes: 'I Love Houston'
Franci Neely, the Texas socialite who yelled at a family for staging a birthday photo shoot on a sidewalk, issued an apology on YouTube over the weekend.
Franci Neely found herself at the center of a firestorm last week after video showed her appearing to strike the family's cellphone when she apparently became upset that they they had set up their props in the middle of a scenic Broadacres sidewalk, an area popular with photographers.
It was later revealed that it was apparently not Neely's first such encounter. Videos submitted to local Houston station KTRK appear to show the same woman challenging others in the area, including a group of friends snapping prom photos.
Speaking in a video published to YouTube Saturday, Neely acknowledged that her emotions got the best of her.
"I apologize from the bottom of my heart," she says. "To my family, friends, neighbors and fellow Houstonians, I ask for forgiveness and understanding. I love Houston and ask that we come together to heal."
Neely, a local socialite and the ex-wife of the owner of the Houston Astros baseball team, previously apologized in a statement to KTRK after the footage emerged of her shouting at the family celebrating their 1-year-old's birthday on Saturday. Kelyn and Isaiah Allen had laid out a blanket and set up balloons to capture their child's special day when Neely descended on them.
Isaiah recorded the incident, during which Neely appears to strike his camera. “I’m still shocked, I’m still shaking,” he told KTRK afterward.
Neely was also caught on camera moving the child’s blanket from the sidewalk.
The City of Houston confirmed that the sidewalks in question are public property, though the homeowners association is fighting the city, claiming the property was deeded to the group nearly a century ago.
"The esplanades of Broadacres are part of a public city of Houston right-of-way," the city said in a statement. "The Broadacres Homeowners Association cannot block the esplanades from public use. Anyone with concerns about members of the public blocking a public right-of-way are asked to call 311."
Cece Fowler, president of the Broadacres Homeowners Association, said that frustrated residents are reaching their breaking point, even putting up signs at one point in 2017 in an effort to deter photographers from staging shoots there. But the city made them take them down, saying the group didn't have permission to ban photo shoots.
"We had to take a stand is what we basically had to do because people were going into people's gardens, standing on people's front steps and they felt that they could just take over the neighborhood," she told KTRK.
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