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Harrelson Chokes TMZ Photog

LAPD Investigates

6/30/2006 5:46 PM PDT BY TMZ STAFF

Woody Harrelson choked TMZ cameraman Josh Levine late Thursday night as he left a Hollywood nightclub, and the LAPD is conducting a criminal investigation.

The incident occurred at approximately 11:30 p.m. outside Element, a club frequented by celebrities. As Harrelson left with three women and two men, Levine and other photogs began shooting. Harrelson became irritated and asked Levine to stop shooting. Harrelson then walked over to Levine, put his hand on the camera and asked Levine to stop. Levine said "All I'm doing is my job." Harrelson, who appears in "A Prairie Home Companion," then said, "I've asked you to stop, are you going to stop?" and Levine replied, "Not when you ask me like that." The video then shows Harrelson break the camera and the picture goes dead.

TMZ obtained a second video, shot by another photog, showing the altercation. The photographer began shooting just as Harrelson grabbed Levine's neck.There is no audio in this portion of the tape.

After the incident, Levine was visibly agitated and argued with a man who appeared to be Harrelson's security guard. Then Levine flagged down an LAPD patrol car and told the two officers inside, "Hey bro, I just got assaulted by Woody Harrelson. He choked me out right now." A man standing near Levine added, "Yeah, I'm a witness." The police did not acknowledge Levine and simply drove away.


Harrelson's publicist, Ina Treciokas, told TMZ: "Unfortunately, this is not the first or last time the paparazzi have provoked an incident with a celebrity. Mr. Harrelson is evaluating all of his legal options against the photographer."

Levine went to LAPD's Hollywood division and filed a criminal complaint against Harrelson. The police have Levine's tape as evidence, and TMZ has given the LAPD a copy of the second tape. Levine, who suffered neck lacerations, was then taken by two officers to Cedars Sinai emergency room, where he was examined and released.

Josh Levine

LAPD Detective John Padilla told TMZ the investigation is ongoing and "We're going to present it to the D.A.'s office" as early as today. Padilla added, "With the tapes and all, it's pretty good evidence." Padilla said vandalism and assault and battery charges could be filed against Harrelson.


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No one deserves the ignorance of the camermen and news media. they have gotten way out of control and things need to change. NOW
not wait until another "princess diana" incident.

3035 days ago


Hoorah for Woody...the press SUCK!!!!

3035 days ago


The photographer deserved MUCH worse than what Mr. Harrelson gave him. The dialogue he started with Mr. Harrelson should be considered rude and disrespectful to ANYONE in Woody's place. The world seems to have forgotten simple manners and basic human respect. If the cocky photographer had kept his mouth shut, rather than shouting out "I can't help it, you're so sexy" in response to Mr. Harrelson's very polite request not to be photographed, then he would have his photographs, while retaining his manners. He would have been virtually unnoticed had he not opened his mouth.. No one would look foolish. What in the world makes a stranger think he can shout out sex remarks to another stranger? He would not have a job if he responded like that in a non papparazzi work environment. He should have been dismissed as soon as his employers heard his degrading comments on tape. Hopefully the next person he makes those remarks to will force him to find his manners. He deserved MUCH worse than what he got.

3035 days ago


Celebrities live in a glass fishbowl. They forget who pays the bills. The photographer as well as everyone who pays for anything with a celebrity in it (movies, magazines) are the reason celebrities can afford the posh lifestyle they have. Celebs such as Harrelson need to suck it up. I hope photog Levine is okay, and prevails in court!! If Woody doesn't like the limelight, he can move himself, the wife and kids out of their multi million dollar home and lifestyle and live in a double wide in Podunk someplace. That goes not only for Woody, but for all celebrities. Take the bitter with the sweet, moneydouchebags.

3035 days ago


They should have laws against filming anyone repeatedly and/or from within a certain distance without their permission, and laws against camping outside someone's house on foot or in a helicopter simply for the purpose of taking a picture of a celebrity. Add these laws to the anti-stalking laws.

But I don't care how much taunting or baiting someone does, YOU DON'T PHYSICALLY ATTACK THEM. You work to change the law (per above), you don't act as vigilante.

3035 days ago


I think once a person being pursued by a camera person asks more than once that they stop or at least move to let the person being pusued get by ..that if the camera person does not move....... then it is in the persons right to use whatever force needed to move them ...sometimes celebrities have weirdos stalking them ..and they dont have to let any tom dick or harry get in their face just because they have a camera in hand .....there is no way of knowing who that person is unless they stop and show you is unerving to be constantly aggressively yelled at and camera's being shoved in youre face no matter what you might be that moment .....any time day or night .........some of these photographers feel that they have the right to harass at any given time day or night ..they are ruthless rude and insensittive ...non celebrity people think they are entitled to do whatever they want to a celebrity ..... and these camera people need to realize not everyone feels comfortable being grabbed at by strangers.......who happen to have a camera in hand .......and this entitlement ..... should not be the case ......ever good common sense good common courtesy ............and just plain class is needed so I say go woody beat the heck out of that camera person if they made you feel unsafe

3035 days ago

S Carter    

Woody asked the jackass very politely to stop filming. TMZ was out of line to continue. I don't blame Woody one bit.


3035 days ago


the only reason the photographer is pursuing this is publicity, its a story, the blood suckers in the media will tell any lie, break any law, just to make a buck and thats what this is about, nothing more or less, any other reason the come up with is a lie, period.

3035 days ago

Rick Benn    

As a celebrity, Harrelson has fans who want to see what he's doing when not performing. As a photographer of celebrities, that photographer was only doing his job by obtaining photos of Harrelson for his fans.

I guess this means when Harrelson is doing his job in front of a camera or audience, it's "OK" for someone to tell him to "stop", choke him and break any camera filming him, huh?

3035 days ago


Woody Harrelson is a two bit thug, he should work for a ganster; because he's lousy as an actor anyhow. I'm sure he thinks of himself as a tough guy, but i bet he couldn't take a grade school student. I know my 9 year old grand niece could take him.

3035 days ago


Woody's actions were totally out of line and he should pay for a new camera. Ok Woody, you are leaving a popular nightclub in Hollywood where it's no secret that the paparazzi are waiting outside. Play the freakin' game and let them take your picture! If you don't want your picture taken then go somewhere more low-key. To the person who said that the cameraman provoked Woody so that he could sue, you are a freaking moron...he is just doing his job. Smoke another joint and go back to your hippy commune you washed up actor!

3035 days ago


i think he had a right to do it, it certianly didn't look like he left the kinds of marks that were on his neck, but since he's a celeb he should have thought it out a little more, before choking someone. it was bound to get on tape. he knew he was gonna get in trouble for it! he asked him to stop really nice. grr. whatever. and what the hell was the police doing! those guys should have gotten in trouble! remind me never to move to la!!!

3035 days ago


The camera man should have stopped filming the the moment Harrelson asked him to stop. The cameraman showed no professionalism what-so-ever. This behaviour on the part of the cameraman is a product of an over saturated over served media market.

3035 days ago


PITA photog got what he deserved. Idiots like Levine STALK people...I don't care how famous they are or how much $$ they make....these people are human beings who have a right to have their privacy respected. Levine GOT his footage and then Harrelson asked him to stop....and he wouldn't. Any decent human being would have said, "OK, Woody, it's cool..."or whatever and stopped. MAybe then at another time, HArrelson would have paid him back and said, "This guy was cool before, so I'll let him shoot me this time." But no...Levine had to continue being a PITA and then say, "Not when you ask me like THAT!" What an a-hole! Harrelson should have busted his jaw! Poor widdle Levine...he hurt his necky-wecky! Hey, moron....ya mess with the bull, ya get the horns! The same way some commentators say that paparazzi come with the territory of being famous....the photogs then have to deal with getting ass-whooped as being part of THEIR territory if they act like obnoxious, privacy-invading morons.

3035 days ago


Josh Levine had every right. He was asked the wrong way to stop. A-list actor or not, Woody should have never put his hands on Josh. I actually used to like him. Now I'm disgusted and would kick his ass to see how bad him and his gay ass security guard are. He's not the first actor nor the last that will ever get photographed. Oh and it's people like you(TMZ viewers, People Mag purchasers, etc.) that give Josh his job. The overpaid actors get paid well enough to handle their very so much wanted celebrity status. It's called publicity, Woody fans. Oh and that just shows us that LAPD is far from the finest. They were late for a meeting at the nearest donout shop, or better yet, giving a traffic ticket instead of upholding the law and serving they're bosses (taxpayers). Thye're like city meter-maids. But that's expected anyways. Cant criticize on things we know are bad, it's not ethical. LOL.

3035 days ago
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