Emile Hirsch Charged with Assault: He's 'Been a Mess for a Long Time,' Says Source
The actor allegedly attacked a woman at a club during the Sundance Film Festival
Emile Hirsch has been charged with aggravated assault for allegedly putting a female Hollywood executive in a chokehold during the Sundance Film Festival, PEOPLE has confirmed.
A representative for Hirsch confirms to PEOPLE that the actor “checked himself into an alcohol rehabilitation facility, where he remains today, to ensure nothing like this ever happens again.”
“Emile has been a mess for a long time,” a source reveals to PEOPLE. “He’s very sweet in the right moment but he has no hesitation with showing up to a public event [on substances]. There’s times it seems like he’s not actually present.”
According to the police report, The Girl Next Door star allegedly choked a woman unconscious on Jan. 25 at the Tao Nightclub in Park City, Utah.
Police claim that Hirsch admitted he was intoxicated and arguing with the woman, whom he said he had never met before that night.
Paramount Pictures executive Daniele Bernfeld told police that Hirsch approached her at the bar looking intoxicated and asked why she looked “so tough” and said she was a “rich kid” who should not be at Sundance.
Bernfeld says she walked away from Hirsch and sat down at a table with friends, but the 29-year-old followed her and “put her in a chokehold” from behind. Next, the actor allegedly “pulled her across the table and onto the floor,” where he began strangling her. The woman told police she might have blacked out momentarily.
Finally, two unidentified bystanders managed to restrain Hirsch and pull him off her, according to the report.
Hirsch – who was in Utah for the Sundance Film Festival, where his film Ten Thousand Saints premiered – told police that he had three to four drinks, but an officer told prosecutors that the actor was unsteady on his feet and that his eyes were red and he was slurring his words. They also reported seeing redness on Bernfeld’s chest and neck consistent with choking injuries.
“[Emile Hirsch] consumed an enormous amount of alcohol on the evening in question and he doesn’t have any memory of what happened at the time of the allegations,” Hirsch’s representative tells PEOPLE.
“Emile takes these allegations very seriously, and is devastated that any of this has occurred,” the rep added. “Emile is continuing to cooperate fully with authorities.”
Hirsch is due in court March 16, and could face up to five years in prison if convicted on the third-degree felony aggravated assault charge.
• Reporting by PATRICK GOMEZ