Actor Emile Hirsch ‘choked woman in nightclub’

Emile Hirsch


Actor Emile Hirsch put a studio executive in a chokehold and dragged her across a nightclub table during the Sundance Film Festival, police have said.

Hirsch, 29, was charged with aggravated assault, which is punishable by up to five years in prison and a US $5,000 fine, and is also facing a misdemeanour count of intoxication.

County prosecutor Ryan Stack said the woman, Daniele Bernfeld, was an executive for Insurge Pictures, a Paramount Pictures subsidiary.

Court documents say the incident happened on January 25 at Tao Nightclub in Park City, Utah, when Hirsch, looking drunk, approached Ms Bernfeld and asked why she looked “so tough”.

He also said she was a “rich kid who should not be at Sundance”, the documents say.

Investigators say Hirsch grabbed Ms Bernfeld and she pushed him away. He left and sat with friends before coming back and grabbing her from behind, the documents state.

She was put in a chokehold and pulled across the table before Hirsch landed on top of her on the floor, authorities said.

Ms Bernfeld told police she saw things going dark and might have blacked out momentarily.

Hirsch, of Encino, California, told police he did not know Ms Bernfeld but was having an argument with her.

He said he had three to four drinks and an officer told prosecutors his balance was off, he was slurring his words and smelled of alcohol.

Hirsch, best known for his starring role in Into The Wild, also appeared in Universal’s US Navy SEAL drama Lone Survivor, Peter Berg’s account of a disastrous 2005 military operation in Afghanistan.

He was at Sundance for the premiere of the drama Ten Thousand Saints, a film in which he appears alongside Ethan Hawke and Asa Butterfield.

Hirsch will make his first court appearance on March 16 in Park City. Mr Stack said the filing of charges came two weeks after the incident because time was needed to secure key information.