Emile Hirsch poses for a portrait during the Sundance Film Festival on Jan. 23, 2015, in Park City, Utah.
Photo by Victoria Will/Invision/AP

Emile Hirsch charged with putting woman in chokehold at Sundance


Actor Emile Hirsch has been charged with felony assault after allegedly putting a woman in a chokehold at the Sundance Film Festival last month, according to NBC News.

The 29-year-old actor has been charged with aggravated assault – a third degree felony – and intoxication, a class C misdemeanor. NBC News has confirmed that the alleged assault was on a Hollywood studio executive, but her identity has not been officially disclosed. The incident reportedly took place at the Tao nightclub in Park City, Utah in the early hours of the morning on Jan. 25. 

Msnbc reached out to Hirsch’s agent and attorney for comment on this story, but has not heard back at this time. However, his lawyer Robert Offer told E! that Hirsch “consumed an enormous amount of alcohol on the evening in question and he has no memory of what happened.”

“Emile takes these allegations very seriously, and is devastated that any of this has occurred,” Offer added. “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.” 

The New York Post’s gossip section, Page Six, first reported on the story in January and claimed to have unearthed accounts from witnesses on the scene. According to one alleged witness, whose account NBC has not confirmed, “Something happened between the movie exec and Emile, and she said she had been assaulted and asked security to call the police. Emile didn’t leave the scene, and calmly waited for the police to arrive, and spoke with them until around 5 a.m., after which he went home with his friends. No arrests were made.”

RELATED: Report: NYPD officers rarely punished for chokeholds

Another unnamed source told the Post that the woman Hirsch allegedly attacked was Paramount Digital Entertainment Vice-President Dani Bernfrield. “Emile was aggressively picking on Dani,” the source said. “He got even more aggressive and aggro. He pushed Dani up against a table, and then he put her in a headlock.” NBC News has reported that the alleged victim blacked out during the encounter and the Associated Press has reported that Hirsch had to be restrained by two other people.

Hirsch, 29, best known for his role in the acclaimed drama “Into the Wild,” was at the film festival promoting his upcoming movie “Ten Thousand Saints.” Hirsch is also attached to a highly anticipated upcoming biopic of late “Saturday Night Live” comedian John Belushi.

He faces up to five years in prison and fines totaling nearly $6,000 if he is convicted. His first court date is set for March 16.