Woody Harrelson gets sued for photographer beat down

In early July of 2006, Woody Harrelson grabbed a paparazzo by the neck and br when the guy wouldn’t stop taking photos of him out with a group of women. Most of the exchange was caught on videotape and posted to TMZ shortly afterwards. There were visible scratches and broken skin on the back of the photographer’s neck.

The photographer filed a criminal complaint at the police station, and the LAPD said they were investigating the incident but not much more was heard about it.

Right before the two year statute of limitations runs out, the photographer is predictably suing Harrelson. Along with claiming that 46 year-old actor choked him and broke his camera, he also says Harrelson ordered his bodyguard to attack him. The photographer wants a whopping $2.5 million:

Woody Harrelson has been sued for $2.5 million by a paparazzo who accused the actor of assaulting him and breaking his video camera two years ago.

According to a lawsuit filed Friday in Los Angeles Superior Court, Josh Levine was filming Harrelson in Hollywood late one night in June 2006. He alleges the Academy Award-nominated actor choked him, broke his video camera and ordered his bodyguard to attack him.

Levine’s suit says he still has mental, physical and emotional pain from the encounter. He is also suing the unidentified bodyguard.

Harrelson’s publicist could not immediately be reached for comment.

[The Associated Press via Huffington Post]

It seemed pretty obvious to me at the time I assumed at the time based on his aggressive behavior that Woody was cheating on his wife, who had just given birth to their third daughter a month before. Why would he get so upset at being photographed unless he was up to something? (Update: as many of you mentioned, I made the assumption that Woody was cheating based on the way he objected to being photographed. There was little basis for this and I should have phrased it better.)

The photographer definitely deserves compensation for his injuries and broken equipment, but $2.5 million? I see this being settled out of court for five figures, and that’s probably what the victim is hoping for too. It’s not like a jury is going to be incredibly sympathetic toward a paparazzi photographer, even if Harrelson was clearly in the wrong.

Woody Harrelson is shown at the Semi-Pro premiere on 2/19/08, thanks to PRPhotos.

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13 Responses to “Woody Harrelson gets sued for photographer beat down”

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  1. geronimo says:

    Is this fact? That he was cheating on his wife? Or just supposition? Not that it would make any difference to the actuality of the assault.

  2. Syko says:

    Am I the only person in the world who sees Woody as a total thug? There is just something distasteful about him.

  3. geronimo says:

    I really like him. he’s not a media courter and possibly over-reacts to pap attention but their aggressive tactics are equally questionable. If you court it, you deserve it. If you don’t, this is what happens. Hard to be sympathetic to the ‘poor, traumatised’ pap here. ๐Ÿ™„

  4. Syko says:

    Oh, I’m not sympathetic to the poor pap, I think they should all be flushed down the toilet they crawled up out of. It’s just – I mean, look at the picture! I’ve never seen him as attractive, and he’s not aging all that well.

  5. geronimo says:

    I go for that slightly primitive, unreconstructed look! ๐Ÿ˜†

    I just like him, he’s not a bullshitter, he marches to some degree to his own beat and I like that. And he’s a good actor.

  6. Bodhi says:

    I love Woody. Pretty much for all the same reasons Geronimo mentioned.

    Do you have any basis for assuming that he was cheating on his wife other than the fact that he doesn’t like to be papped? Maybe they were his sisters or something…

  7. geronimo says:

    Or just women, Bodhi. Plain ordinary women friends. Or is that not allowed? ๐Ÿ™„ If an assumption is being made on that very spurious basis, then I want either evidence or a retraction! To me, it just sounds like Woody being Woody without any need to suppose he was cheating on anyone.

  8. cmoody says:

    I would think he would be upset about having his privacy violated by a total stranger and it wouldn’t have anything to do with whether or not he was cheating.

  9. Frenchie says:

    I understand that it might be very upsetting to be followed and spied by paparazzi, but I do go on this website on a daily basis. So I wonder if these blogs would ever exist if no paparazzi were taking photos and having us updated with what celebs do ???

  10. Scott F. says:

    I’ve thought about that lately myself Frenchie, but I think the answer is: not much. It wouldn’t really effect them if you think about it.

    The stories they run come mostly from magazines, and the paps aren’t writing those stories. It would be just as easy to run the stories with a red carpet shot of the celeb it’s about as it would to run a new photo of them going to the grocery store.

    It’s unnecessary, it’s invasive, and it wouldn’t be legal if they weren’t a celebrity. That’s BS to begin with, considering a celebrity is SUPPOSED to be no different from you or me in a strictly legal sense. They are entitled to the same legal protections we all are. What would happen if some random guy was snapping topless photos of some random girl sunbathing in the back yard of her house? People call that a pervert. Somehow if it’s a celebrity though, they become a paparazzi.

  11. devilgirl says:

    It is an old story, if you don’t like attention, stay out of the limelight. If you don’t care for blood, you don’t become a surgeon. If you don’t like kids, you don’t become a teacher. Everyone knows that part of being an actor, singer is the paps. Deal with it, and deal without the fists, cause they are always waiting to sue.

  12. Celebitchy says:

    You guys are right that I shouldn’t have been so certain that he was cheating just because he got upset that he was being photographed. I have reworded that section and am sorry for the misunderstanding.

  13. vdantev says:

    I would accept CB’s verdict about the Pap getting compensation if it wasn’t for the fact the opportunistic scumbag had someone videotaping him and deliberately provoking Woody by refusing to stop taking pictures. I’d be pissed too because people can and will misconstrue those pictures and say he’s cheating on his wife. Plus the Paps who work for TMZ are the lowest of the low.

    The Pap also deserves neither compensation nor a day court anymore than a soldier deserves it when he gets shot on the battlefield. The risks of dealing with a PO’ed celeb especially when he’s asked repeatedly and angrily to stop taking pictures and he doesn’t are just part of the job. It’s called survival instinct. And if getting the shot is more important than not getting your ass kicked, then you deserve a good ass kicking for your trouble.