Our TV Shows

Got a Tip?

Call TMZ at (888) 847-9869 or Click Here

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.


No Avatar

Alicia Candesty    

Give me a flipping break!! First, I appreciate the fact that Woody "signed" up to be a celeb but missed the boat - geez - what was there to see of him walking down the street? Enough is enough! He gave the guy time to get some shots and then when he nicely asked the guy to stop, the idiot wanted to try and act like they were friends. "Not when you ask me like that"? What an attitude this little wimp of a camera man is! Truthfully, he wouldn't have stopped no matter how he was asked because he is a Jerk! And choked him, "PLEEEZZZEE!" And now for the kicker, I don't like Woody Harrelson, but in in this case, I'm on his side fully!!! He did nothing wrong - his privacy was invaded and when he tried to deal with it nicely, your jerk of a camera man kept going for the sheer purpose of trying to cause some sort of incident like this - just to get HIS name in the news. Too bad his "SKILLS" couldn't get his name in the news! Just that he's a bigger jerk than Woody Harrelson has ever been!

2985 days ago

George Stone    

Harrelson is a celebrity. He got his popularity from rag magazine front page cover photos. Woody does not have the right to assault anybody. That cameraman has the same right to make a living too, as Woody does. Dont blame the cameraman, because Woody is a little creepy. If Woody wants to avoid the media, he should not frequent places where the papparazzi hang out in packs. According to most of you, its ok to bite the hand that made him into a star to begin with

2985 days ago

Miguel McDonalo    

Give Woody a break... if he had really choked that numbskull it would be different but he just tried to restrain him and touched his neck. I think that clearly shows on the tape..The police were right to not take seriously that jaywalking photographer. Anyone can file a police report. There should be stronger laws against filing frivolous reports.

2985 days ago


I believe Woody acted correctly. He asked this
asshole photographer to stop several times and
he completely ignored Woody's pleas.

If that had been me, I would have kicked him
in the balls...then he has the nerve to want to sue.
he should be sued for harrassment.

Good Luck Woody!

2985 days ago

robert coleman    

he really should not have choked that guy he should have ripped his head off and stomed on the quivering corpse as it lay in the street those guys are world class PUKES!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

2985 days ago


Another in a long string of incidents that clearly demonstrate that Harrelson is not only a fraud, but a punk as well. Let's see, the thinking was, "why, he's taking my picture ... I think I should choke him!" Verrry bright. I keep waiting for the moment when the Hollywood heroes like Harrelson, Baldwin and Penn pick on the wrong dude and get the everlasting shit bitch slapped out of 'em.

2985 days ago


Levine you are a putz, Find another job. I would be ashamed if I had to tell someone that my Job is following people and taking their pictures, hoping that they screw up so I can get them published, and make some money off of their misfortunes. You guys give attorneys a good name.

2985 days ago

robert coleman    


2985 days ago

Olga Munoz    

when this scum bag is waving down the police and bending over, there are no lacerations on his neck. HILARIOUS.

2985 days ago

bruce borner    

I think celebs have the right to privacy as much as anyone else. Due to the over the top aggressiveness of those who invade their privacy, celebs may even need the right protected more vigorously than most non-celebs. The idea some people have that celebrity status requires the sacrificing of personal liberties is misbegotten.

2985 days ago


These paparazzi guys seem to try to create situations in hopes of filing suit against somebody. I understand that being started at comes with being a celebrity but there's still a line there that shouldn't be crossed.

2985 days ago

Rob Reiner    

These Hollywood types think they are above the law. That's why this jerk, Harrelson would go so far as to assault someone in the middle of the street. The irony about these cocaine-driven performers is that when they were struggling to achieve some stardom they would give their left nut to have a photographer take pictures of them. Now that they've made it, they treat the same people like dirt. Harrelson knew the price of celebrity when he got in the game. He has no right to assault people with impunity now that he's made it. He should be arrested and charged like anyone else who committed an assault with an injury. Let's see how intimidated the L.A.Police are when it comes to people with money and influence.

2985 days ago


It is very disturbing that the newest way to get a paycheck is to harass your way to being assulted by a celebrity so you can then sue them. This is becoming more and more common by paparrazzi that can't come up with the "money" shot for a big payday. It boils down to extortion plain and simple.

2985 days ago


I so agree with Woody, No he should not have hit him but back off when ask to the man should of BACK OFF. Photos or not.

2985 days ago


The pjotog should have stopped when asked, yes but, even if he didn't that did not give Woody Harrelson ANY right to inflict physical harm upon him! The guy was just doing his job, as sleazy and low as it may be, each and every person who watched that clip prove why these photogs make so much money doing what they do.

2985 days ago
Previous 15 Comments | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | Most Recent | Next 15 Comments

Around The Web