Emile Hirsch Charged with Felony Assault for Choking Female Movie Exec

Victoria Will/Invision/AP
Victoria Will/Invision/AP

Actor Emile Hirsch, best known for his roles in films Into the Wild and Lone Survivor, has been charged with felony assault this week for allegedly putting a female Hollywood executive in a “chokehold” during a party at the Sundance Film Festival.

Hirsch was in Park City, Utah to promote his new film Ten Thousand Saints at 2015’s Sundance Film Festival when he attended an after-party at Tao Nightclub on Sunday Jan. 25.

At approximately 3:52 a.m., Hirsch reportedly attacked Paramount executive Dani Bernfeld, sources then said.

Bernfeld told police she moved away from Hirsch to go sit with a friend at a table, but Hirsch followed her and “put her in a chokehold.”

The woman claims Hirsch “pulled her across the table and onto the floor” and landed on top of her, according to TMZ.

While on top, the actor allegedly wrapped his hands around her neck and began to choke her. She reported feeling as though “the front and back of her throat were touching and she remembers things going dark,” a witness said.

A spokesperson for Hirsch tells TMZ, “Emile consumed an enormous amount of alcohol on the evening in question and he has no memory of what happened.” They continued:

Emile takes these allegations very seriously, and is devastated that any of this has occurred. A few days after the incident, Emile sought help and checked himself into an alcohol rehabilitation facility, where he remains today, to ensure nothing like this ever happens again.

Hirsch has retained legal counsel, and if convicted, could face up to five years in prison.

“Emile was aggressively picking on Dani,” a witness said at the time of the attack. That person also stated that Hirsch suddenly snapped and “He got even more aggressive and aggro. He pushed Dani up against a table, and then he put her in a headlock.”

Another source described Hirsch’s alleged assault as a “chokehold,” and added, “He attacked her from behind — he completely blindsided her after he’d been s–t-talking and was already led away from her once.”

Nightclub security called police after being notified of the attack, and Hirsch reportedly calmly waited at the scene to discuss the incident with members of law enforcement.

He admitted to having three or four drinks, and police noted he appeared heavily intoxicated. Police also noticed redness on Berfeld’s neck and upper chest.

At around 5 a.m that morning, Hirsch was released to friends.

He is due in court on Mar. 16, where he also faces a charge of misdemeanor intoxication.



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