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Choking Photographers -- The New Hollywood Hug

6/30/2006 4:04 PM PDT BY TMZ STAFF

Woody HarrelsonHollywood is a tough town.  Just ask TMZ cameraman Josh Levine, who was choked late Thursday night by Woody Harrelson.

Levine was shooting video of someone who did not want to be videotaped.  Should Levine have turned his camera off?  Here's the deal.  The club is a Hollywood hot spot, and any celeb who goes there knows the game going in and out.  It's kind of like the famous Ivy restaurant on Robertson in L.A. -- it's all part of the meal.  Element is like night Ivy.

Should Levine have told Harrelson he was shooting him because he was sexy?  Well... we report, you decide.  The one thing I can tell you as a veteran TV reporter and lawyer, when people start touching my camera, it's a whole different Oprah.  Taking pictures in public places is one thing; assaulting someone is something else. Destroying someone's property and choking him is a crime, unless it's done in self-defense. 

It sure didn't look like self-defense to me.

So what will happen now?  If you judge the LAPD by the reaction from the two patrol officers who blew off Levine, the answer is nothing.  I'm hoping they're not representative of the department -- we'll see. 

2 COMMENTS

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16.

Dee Dee Dee    

Harvey: Why when it is one of your people attacked, or put on the spot, he is called a "photographer" or "cameraman," instead of what he REALLY is, a "paparazzi?" I read the NY Times piece on TMZ, and realized that you can only do so much damage control here. You are the paparazzi, and Warner Brothers is supporting it. I doubt Woody Harrelson will be doing anything with Warner Brothers, AOL, or People mag any time soon. They may not care, because Woody's career is about over, but the next fight could be with Brad Pitt, after Levine tries to snap intrusive pix of little Shiloh leaving the pediatrician's office.

3036 days ago
17.

KATIE    

Isn't Woody's father in prison for murder,guess he had a temper?? Woody better watch his temper.,

3035 days ago
18.

jamie    

Celebs are fed up and I don't blame them. The paparazzi go way beyond what should be allowed. It should be illegal to photograph people when they are on their own property and it should also be illegal to take pictures/publish pictures of children without their parents conscent. If those rules existed maybe celebs who are in public would be less irate. I'm sure the photograhers that E.L. posted about deserved every beating they received. I'm sure most of them were baiting or verbally harrassing the celebs that smacked them around.

3035 days ago
19.

Michael Belli    

TMZ is no better than ambulance chasers. TMZ may understand the letter of the law but there is more to being a decent human than just getting away with provoking celebs. I suggest if you want to see some real action and be a real reporter/camera man then go do some good and cover the Iraqi war or the starvation in Sudan or many other areas of the world where a camera might do some good and not just provoke weak minded celebs to beaingt the crap out of you.
Was Woody wrong, sure, but that does not make TMZ right. The best we can do is to not give TMZ any press. Mr. Levine is one of many humans that suck off of others shortcomings. It's sad but this is the wonderful world that we live in, full of blood sucking cockroaches other wise known as HOLLYWOOD.

3035 days ago
20.

Belinda    

I so miss Celebrities Uncensored. Ahhhhh, those were the days.

(My Rant): I'm so sick of these so-called celebrities and their whining about their picture being taken. Without those pictures, they wouldn't have any fans, and no fans, definitely no fortune, and the fame comes with their faces being plastered everywhere. Why is it so difficult for them to grasp this?

So which is it superstars (superstars really only applies to a few and Woody Harrelson ain't one of them), do you want your fame and fortune . . . or do you want your privacy on public streets? Maybe Harrelson (What has he been doing anyway. I thought his star burnt out years ago) is using that old PR phrase . . . "There is no such thing as bad publicity. "

Levine, I hope you take Harrelson for everything he has PLUS he should do jail time for assault. Any other human being would have to do time for assault and pay fines.

Having your picture taken, fans asking for autographs, fans buying the magazines who pay photographers to take your pictures. What a horrible, horrible life for a human being that might get $10 Million a picture. They don't even have to really have any talent if they have the great looks. However, they forget why they have fame and fortune. If it were not for the fans that pay for their movies, concerts, usicwhatever, they would be nobody.

Anyone on public property is open game for taking pictures.

Why don't the papparazi do what they did to Clooney when he complained about them. He sure changed his tune when his movie bom

Go to the premier of A SCANNER DARKLY. Totally ignore him. Focus on Keanu, Robert Downey, and Wynonna Ryder. No one interview Harrellson. Wear press tags with a picture of Harrellson's face with an X over it. Really ignore the jerk.

Good luck in your lawsuit.

3034 days ago
21.

Willard Brown    

How bout no photos of any celebrity for at least six months. See how much they scream. They might even think no one loves them any more. No one even the "great" Woody has the right to put thier hands on anyone else, only if they are in physical danger.

3033 days ago
22.

nat    

I wish Woody would have done more than choked him. You paparazzi deserve no sympathy, and you won't get it from me, you self rightous pricks. And to that other guy who tried to slip that promotion for his website in there, go choke on a sausage, you fat, lifeless jerk. Maybe if you had all gotten an education, even to the point of finishing High School, then you wouldn't have to suck at the waste of society by hunting people like their animals. LOSERS.

3033 days ago
23.

Deanna    

Woody Harrelson is a punk, and I wish all these celebs, would stop and consider WHY they have all the money and toys and all that before they start acting like idiots. They have all this because of the FANS, DUHHHHHHHHHHHH.
SOOOO, if they don't want their pix taken, then don't and leave them alone, and stop watching their movies, listening to their music, and see how long the so called "beautiful people" will be punching the press. It wasn't too many years ago Harrelson was hanging off the Golden Gate bridge in San Francisco to demonstrate against one thing or another, THEN he wanted the press there... THEY need to decide what the hell DO they WANT!!!!!!!

3030 days ago
24.

Irene    

To me Woody Harrelson is a thug. Just look at the choke hold he has
on one photographer. Taking stars (?) pictures is their job. The stars
should let them take the picture then tell them to go.
Harrelson has no manners what so ever.

Irene McGuinness

3029 days ago
25.

TG    

I understand that being a celebrity comes with down sides but I do not think that gives a person the right to harrass them. A person should be able to have some quiet time to themselves and family. I agree that the photographer set up Woody to "get paid." I think the photographer was in the wrong. If I was Woody, I probably would have done a lot more. If someone steps in my face and I ask them to move away, and they don't, I would definitely take some physical action. I don't think violence is the answer all the time, but if you're threatened, then by all means.

3029 days ago
26.

Bradley Cooper    

Only a lawyer or cameraman would feel that way. The rest of us say Hey go ahead
and kick the little bloodsuckers ass and why your at it take out all the lawyers too.

3029 days ago
27.

Steve    

Everyone keeps saying Harrelson "choked" him. A choke by definition involves blocking respiration by obstruction of larynx or trachea. He just grabbed the guy by the back of the neck, Josh was never in any kind of danger. Stop dramatizing such a minor incident. He never choked him, it would have been about the same physical impact if Woody had grabbed him by the arm. That said, I believe that when someone asks you to leave them in peace, they deserve that peace whether they are at a "paparazzi-rich envioronment" or not. You blame him for going somewhere where you all swarm, as if he should schedule his life around you. Maybe if the paparazzi had any sense of decency...

3026 days ago
28.

Jim    

Ok, Woody touched Levine and that is assault. So he needs to take the consequences for that. HOWEVER, Levine is the culprit. He was obviously stalking a known celebrity with a prior incident. And what was the reason for continuing to film Woody, other than to provoke such an outcome. Was there anything of particular interest occuring in what he was filming, other than a celebrity walking down the street for an extended period of time? I am sure there have been other incidents of Woody having been filmed and where are those films since there was no "vicious attack"? As an attorney for Woody, I would subpoena other films of TMZ to see how many other prolonged sequences of filming there are to establish this is a pattern for Levine. As I state this was a deliberate attempt to provoke Harrelson. And Harrelson initially acted with restraint and courtesy in requesting the filming to stop. And I wouldn't care if Levine had a wife and child, he is playing with fire and apparantly, his actions shows a lot of concern and love toward them. Otherwise, he wouldnt put himself in such a situation. I tell you if a man puts his hand on a camera I was holding and asks me to please stop, I am not going to further provoke him. But this was Levine's goal all along.
Please take this to court, Woody should receive penalty in criminal court. However, in civil court I don't feel he will be the loser.

3016 days ago
29.

JOE H    

Maybe you leeches might want to leave them alone and stop fueling the fire. They are people and have the right to go where they want without being harrassed by you. It must drive them nuts. No wonder they want to beat the crap out of you and shove you cameras down your throats.

3008 days ago
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