Vitalii Sediuk, the longtime red-carpet accoster of celebrities, was arrested Wednesday night after allegedly attacking Brad Pitt as the star was making his way down the carpet for the premiere of partner Angelina Jolie’s “Maleficent.”
Police took Sediuk into custody after he “made contact” with Pitt on the carpet of the Disney premiere, according to The Times’ L.A. Now blog. The 25-year-old was booked on suspicion of misdemeanor battery and was being held in lieu of $20,000 bail, according to online Sherriff’s Department booking records.
“Some guy jumped over the barricades and made contact with Brad Pitt,” Los Angeles Police Department officer Nuria Vanegas said.
According to The Times’ Saba Hamedy, who was on the red (technically blue) carpet, Pitt and Jolie started walking the carpet together at about 6:25 p.m., waving and smiling to fans and even stopping to sign some autographs. Pitt passed by a group of reporters, presumably before the incident, at about 6:45 p.m. It was unclear when the alleged attack happened, though Jolie was on the carpet acknowledging fans and giving interviews until as late as 7:15 p.m., a little bit after the screening was scheduled to start.
Over several years of exploits, Sediuk has earned the sobriquet of “the red-carpet prankster.” But his actions have long had a sinister quality. As recently as the Cannes Film Festival he was caught running under America Ferrera’s dress, while in the past he has kissed Will Smith on a Moscow red carpet and pressed his face against Bradley Cooper’s crotch.
He also tried to sabotage Adele’s Grammy speech in 2013, prompting the organization behind the awards show to ban him.
Sediuk’s skill may lie not so much with what he does on the carpet but how he dupes publicists into allowing him near it in the first place.
Though historically there is added security when wildly popular A-listers like Pitt and Jolie are involved — an average citizen would need to vault several barriers and run across a no-man’s land monitored by dozens of security and police officers to get near a star — Sediuk has found a way around that.
He has managed to be credentialed at various events, according to the sources cited in this Washington Post piece, alternately getting on the carpet under the banner of Russia Life News, Eurovision and the Ukrainian organization 1+1. It is unclear how he was given permission to be near the carpet outside the El Capitan Theatre on Wednesday night for the “Maleficent” premiere.
Will incidents like this increase calls for tougher credentialing policies? Or make some stars shy away from carpets altogether? Both could be possible. The Pitt incident is the latest to highlight that in an increasingly global Hollywood, and with the ascendancy of previously little-known blogs, it’s harder than ever for gatekeepers to keep track of who should be given access to these press events. No one wants to be the person who denies a credential to a legitimate foreign journalist and submarines a movie’s chances in that territory. But as incidents like this increase, no one wants to be responsible for Brad Pitt getting attacked either.