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USC postpones event with 'Django Unchained' actress Daniele Watts

USC postpones event with 'Django Unchained' actress Daniele Watts
Actress Daniele Watts rehearses a scene from the play "Before the Revolution" in 2012. (Robert Gauthier / Los Angeles Times)

"Django Unchained" actress Daniele Watts was set to discuss race, sexual expression and civil rights at USC on Wednesday, but school officials postponed the event a day after she was charged with lewd conduct.

A university official said the event was put on hold because demand for seats far exceeded the number of people who could fit comfortably in a room at USC's Gould Law School.

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The law school classroom can accommodate only 40 people, said the official, who asked not to be identified because she was not authorized to speak on behalf of the university.

"We received more RSVPs than the space could handle," she said. She didn't say how many people had asked to attend the panel discussion; no new date has been set, she said.

When asked if the event had been postponed because of the charges filed against Watts or the notoriety of the incident, she said, "No."

Watts, a USC alum, was invited to speak on the panel months before she made national headlines when she accused Los Angeles police of mistreating her as she was questioned and handcuffed by officers responding to a lewd conduct report.

Watts accused police of singling her out because she is black and her boyfriend, Brian James Lucas, white.

Officers said they were summoned to a busy street in Studio City on Sept. 11 after a caller reported seeing a couple having sex in a car. Watts and Lucas matched the description, officers said, and the actress was briefly detained but she was released.

The LAPD initially said that "it was determined that no crime had been committed."

But spokesman Lt. Andrew Neiman said Tuesday that a follow-up investigation "revealed witnesses who were willing to provide evidence of a criminal act."

The Los Angeles city attorney's office charged the couple with misdemeanor lewd conduct. They are due in court Nov. 13.

In addition to Quentin Tarantino's "Django Unchained," Watts' credits include roles in the TV series "Weeds" and "Partners."

For more California breaking news, follow LATangel. She can be reached at angel.jennings@latimes.com

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