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LIFE.com: MTV's Video Music Awards: A History of Insanity

SEP 13, 2009: Kanye West Hijacks Taylor Swift's Speech

The rapper, who has been photographed swigging from a bottle of Hennessy all night, crashes Taylor Swift's acceptance speech (she'd won Best Female Video) to suggest that Beyonce should have won for "Single Ladies." Both Swift and Beyonce appear stunned, and the audience boos West the rest of the night. (Eventually he's asked to leave.) The next day, near tears, West apologizes on Jay Leno's show, and takes a self-imposed leave from the spotlight. (Kevin Mazur/WireImage/LIFE.com)
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