What started off as a few disruptive actions now has Hollywood on edge.
Ukranian journalist Vitalii Sediuk first drew attention when he was slapped by Will Smith after attempting to kiss the Men in Black 3 star on a red carpet in 2012. But things took a more serious turn Wednesday when Sediuk was arrested on suspicion of battery after a scuffle with Brad Pitt at the Los Angeles premiere of Maleficent.
“People thought it was funny when he streaked at New York Fashion Week, but this was something beyond entertainment reporting. He’s gone too far,” Sediuk’s former publicist, Christa Scherck, tells PEOPLE.
Scherck added in a statement: “Vitalii’s behavior and antics have become increasingly disturbing. It’s apparent he has real issues that need to be dealt with.”
Scherck first signed Sediuk as a client when the latter moved to the U.S. in 2012 and was impressed with his assignment letter from Ukrainian outlet TSN News.
“TSN News is like the CNN of Ukraine,” says Schreck, who dropped Sediuk as a client Thursday morning. “He told me he wasn’t interested in pranking and that he was interested in red carpet interviews and wanted to work.”
Schreck says Sediuk recently confided to her that he felt he needed to tone down his behavior after the backlash he received for diving under America Ferrera’s dress at the Cannes Film Festival earlier this month.
“I was with him on Monday night, and he told me he needed to cool off because everyone was upset about Cannes and he wasn’t going to be able to do interviews,” she says. “What he did not tell me is that he had been fired.”
In a May 17 statement, TSN parent 1+1 said it was terminating its relationship with Sediuk and apologized to Ferrera.
Sediuk now faces not only the consequences of his arrest on Wednesday but the potential ramifications of violating probation following his arrest after attempting to interrupt Adele on stage at the 2013 Grammy Awards.
“Everyone is now very aware of this guy and will be on the lookout for him,” an industry insider says of Sediuk, who was not covering the Maleficent premiere in any official capacity. “The last thing you want is for the talent to be afraid. It’s especially sad for the fans. This guy is going to make [the stars] stop wanting to sign autographs and mingle with them.”
Sediuk’s lawyer, Anthony Willoughby, who also represented Sediuk following the Grammys incident, expects Sediuk to be arraigned Friday or Monday.
• With reporting by MARY GREEN