Brad Pitt has spoken out after being accosted by a man with a reputation for red carpet pranks.
Vitalii Sediuk has said he was merely trying to give the star a hug, b ut in a statement to People magazine Pitt accused the former Ukrainian TV reporter of attempting to grab his crotch.
He said he hit Sediuk a couple of times on the back of his head during the red carpet event for Disney’s Maleficent in Los Angeles last week.
“I don’t mind an exhibitionist, but if this guy keeps it up he’s going to spoil it for the fans who have waited up all night for an autograph or a selfie, because it will make people more wary to approach a crowd,” Pitt said.
“And he should know, if he tries to look up a woman’s dress again, he’s going to get stomped,” he added, referring to an incident at the Cannes Film Festival when Sediuk, 25, crawled underneath America Ferrera’s dress.
His contact caused Pitt to lose balance while he was signing autographs and Sediuk spent two days in jail before pleading no contest to battery and unlawful activity at a sporting or entertainment event. He was sentenced to three years’ probation, a year of psychiatric counselling and ordered to stay away from Pitt.
“I’m a normal guy,” Sediuk said in the interview. “I’m not crazy.”
The 6ft 2in native of Boryspil, Ukraine, said he initially was not near the front of the fan area where Pitt was signing autographs, but saw paparazzi leave one area and headed for it. He said he stood on a metal railing and reached over to give Pitt a hug, toppling on to the carpet area as security grabbed him.
Sediuk said his antics should lead to a re-examination of security procedures at high-profile entertainment events.
He has hugged the crotches of Bradley Cooper and Leonardo Di Caprio and crashed the 2013 Grammy Awards says the primary purpose for his pranks is entertainment. “I’m doing this for fun,” he said.
He said he avoided a similar stunt at the Maleficent premiere because he said he knew children would be at the event.
Sediuk has been sacked by Ukrainian television station 1+1 and says he intends to spend the next few months focusing on fulfilling his sentence for the Pitt incident, which includes community service and a restraining order preventing him from going near Hollywood events.
He said he would like to remain in the entertainment field, working as a director or appearing in a reality show, and would continue work as a journalist – if anyone will hire him.
Sediuk has said he will not give up pranks, but realised his days of getting close to Hollywood celebrities were at an end. Any future stunts would be done legally, he said, and “in a polite way”.