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Posted at 11:00 AM ET, 04/10/2009

Woody Harrelson Pushed to the Edge by Paparazzo?

By Liz Kelly

(Screen capture from

Woody Harrelson is not fond of the paparazzi. We know this. So does TMZ, since Harrelson got physical with one of their aggressive stalkerazzi in 2006. So, when a TMZ photographer happened upon Woody Harrelson last night at New York's LaGuardia airport, he knew what to do: goad Harrelson into another attack.

You can watch the two short clips documenting the alleged attack here (Part 1 | Part 2), but to summarize: Harrelson walks through an airport alone carrying a few bags. We hear a photographer start to bark questions as Woody makes haste to get away. The photographer won't be put off -- he continues to approach Harrelson, getting close enough for Harrelson to reach out and grab the man's video camera and -- allegedly -- smash it on the ground.

That's only round one.

Round two commences when the photographer, not at all deterred by Harrelson, starts hounding him again -- with a spare camera, I guess -- repeating "Woody, that's assault, Woody, you assaulted me," ad nauseum, causing yet another supposed scuffle. The photog then tails Harrelson all the way to his car, where Harrelson again tries to wrest the camera out of his hands.

In all, there are three instances in which the photographer leads us to believe Harrelson assaults him. Oddly, the camera in all three situations is pointed at the photographer himself and only once do we catch a glimpse of Harrelson, reaching for the camera. So despite TMZ's touting of a Harrelson attack video ("Woody Harrelson went nuts yesterday, smashing our camera to the ground, punching our photog, even grabbing his neck -- and it's all caught on tape.") we don't actually see an attack. In fact, at one point an onlooker tells the photographer to leave Harrelson alone and he says "He just assaulted me, are you kidding me? White men can jump," and continues his dogged pursuit.

This, instead of removing himself from a situation he purportedly considered dangerous or attempting to alert the police.

I'm not excusing Harrelson's behavior. No matter the provocation, the better choice is always to walk away or to himself seek help from an obviously invasive pursuit. But, based on the footage available, Harrelson -- and I'm no huge Harrelson fan -- was pushed to the extreme.

I know this is like spitting in the wind, but I have to say it: Harvey Levin, please stop it. There's a line and you have crossed it. Cover the news, don't create it. Woody Harrelson's arrival at La Guardia isn't a scoop -- unless he steps off the plane smoking a joint. Stick to chronicling Lindsay Lohan's club crawling and celebrity mug shots. We like that.

TMZ's company policy prohibits the release of the photographer's name or contact information and TMZ managing editor Harvey Levin was unavailable for comment.

By Liz Kelly  | April 10, 2009; 11:00 AM ET
Categories:  Celebrities, Comment Box  
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Next: Madonna Makes Malawi Adoption Plea; Harrelson Says He Mistook Paparazzo for 'Zombie'


Dead right, Liz.

Posted by: pras40 | April 10, 2009 11:17 AM | Report abuse

I dont think TMZ can expect much more than this. The photogs are going to get paid for getting their shots on the show - so they're going to do whatever it takes (even if that means arranging a stabbing or three).

Levin will claim he didnt know - but the end result is going to be a dead celeb and huge ratings for TMZ... just wait...

Posted by: quintiliusvarus | April 10, 2009 11:24 AM | Report abuse

Well said. I just wish Harrelson had kicked him in the crotch while he was at it.

Posted by: Bawlmer51 | April 10, 2009 11:26 AM | Report abuse

second that.

Posted by: hodie | April 10, 2009 11:27 AM | Report abuse

I agree, though this post kinda promotes giving TMZ web traffic (a bit of a Catch-22 I think). But I am not taking the bait. I can't stand TMZ.

Posted by: td_in_baltimore | April 10, 2009 11:28 AM | Report abuse

Yep, this promotes TMZ. I would not have known about this unless I read it here, Wash Post. TMZ and the paparazzi will always behave this way for some kind of celebrity crappy shot. It's not worth the bad news or a court case, etc, etc. to react violently. Walk away celebrities! Look at the brighter side and keep in mind that the path you have chosen at least keeps you from having to take Metro to work or drive on the beltway everyday.

Posted by: shejoy | April 10, 2009 12:19 PM | Report abuse

Woody is a thug who can act. TMZ knew that before they started the whole thing. Where is the news? It's not like Harrelson is suddenly going to Seanpenn from someone who punches papparazzi to someone who produces sensitive, yet incredibly dark, movies. non-news, non-story, nonsense.

Posted by: reddragon1 | April 10, 2009 12:19 PM | Report abuse

If an obnoxious paps get within hitting distance of a celeb, i say the celeb has every right to smack the jerkhole.

Posted by: skitch00 | April 10, 2009 1:03 PM | Report abuse

Harvey Levin = slimeball

Posted by: kkrimmer | April 10, 2009 1:35 PM | Report abuse

Harvey Levin = Piece of garbage. Get a real job you parasite.

Posted by: living_consciously | April 10, 2009 1:56 PM | Report abuse

Clearly, it's TMZ, not Woody, who's one to(k)e over the line on this one.

Posted by: northgs | April 10, 2009 2:56 PM | Report abuse

TMZ is ridiculous. But,as long as people continue to pull up the site and watch these poor people being hounded like that, it will continue.

Posted by: MMB42 | April 10, 2009 3:45 PM | Report abuse

Perhaps it's time to train the snark on TMZ.

Posted by: sasquatchbigfoot | April 10, 2009 5:04 PM | Report abuse

Sas, that sounds like a plan to me!

Posted by: Nosy_Parker | April 10, 2009 5:11 PM | Report abuse

Sounds like assault to me. By the TMZ photog, not Woody


Posted by: FairlingtonBlade | April 10, 2009 8:24 PM | Report abuse

Woody, dude, you gotta lighten up on the herb! It really has gotten much stronger - I had some one toke Romulan the other day that really was one toke. But if you're seeing zombies, you're bangin' the bong too much. And if you still think you're the hit man from No Country for Old Men, that's not a good sign.

Posted by: kabuki3 | April 13, 2009 1:55 PM | Report abuse

woody harrelson doing anything is no scoop. he's one big snore.

Posted by: frieda406 | April 13, 2009 2:22 PM | Report abuse

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