Emile Hirsch Charged With Felony Assault on Woman

Emile Hirsch
Andrew Toth/FilmMagic

Actor Emile Hirsch has been charged with felony assault for allegedly choking a female executive at the Sundance Film Festival last month.

The woman, Dani Bernfeld, works for Paramount Pictures as vice president of digital entertainment. The incident took place Jan. 25 at Tao nightclub in Park City, Utah.

According to court documents, Bernfeld was approached by Hirsch at about 3:15 a.m. Hirsch appeared intoxicated, and asked why she looked “so tough” and said she was a “rich kid” who should not be at Sundance. He then grabbed Bernfeld, but she pushed him away and he left the area with some friends.

Shortly after, Hirsch came up to Bernfeld from behind and wrapped his arm around her to put her in a chokehold, say the documents. Hirsch then pulled her across a table and onto the floor, where he landed on top of her. While on top of her, he wrapped his hands around her neck.

Bernfeld said she felt as though “the front and back of her throat were touching” and she remembers her vision going dark, reporting that she may have momentarily blacked out. Two bystanders pulled Hirsch off of Bernfeld.

A spokesman tells Variety that Hirsch was arrested that morning. His court date is currently set for March 16.

Hirsh is being charged with aggravated assault, a third degree felony. If convicted, he faces up to five years in the Utah State Prison.

The 29-year-old actor has starred in films including “Lone Survivor,” “Speed Racer” and “Into the Wild.”

TMZ first reported the story.

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  1. DavidRB says:

    Emile has always seemed like a decent guy, as far as what the public knows of him, at least. I’ve never before heard of him being presented in a negative way, so this was a surprise to see. I hope once this is behind him, he addresses whatever issues he has that caused it, and gets to the point where he can see how fortunate he is to have the life he does, and be content with that, and take care of it. I have been a drinker, in my distant past, and do understand how, when drunk, you can do things you normally would not. It is up to you to keep yourself in check.

  2. Nancy says:

    @cameron yeah, because women always do something to cause the man to assault us, right?

  3. montyedits says:

    How does one become a Vice President of Paramount Pictures at 28?

  4. J.E. Vizzusi says:

    First off nothing good happens ay 3:15 AM in a bar. Do we now need the National Guard to protect us at Film Festivals? True, many of us have thought about strangling our Distributors, but we always seem to just let it go. Don’t bring violence to Park City please! He should be banned from Sundance if the charges stick.

  5. Atomic Fury says:

    What an idiot…and a fool. I’ve done foolish things while drunk as well – but never felt the need to assault a woman. It’s always a blessing to me when THEY walk away no matter what the circumstances. Why follow them and keep trouble for yourself? Keeping the good ones around is the challenge worth sweating for.

    Now this moron Hirsch will never be able to undo this act nor the damage to his reputation – at least as far as it exists in the minds of those who’ll remember it.

  6. killer instinct says:

    OMG!!!!!!!! Sounds like he almost decapitated that lady with his bare hands!!!!!! Who knew a little, soft male like him could turn so furious and with so much ferocity.

  7. peter says:

    Yes, what’s the entire story? What is their history?

  8. Lisa says:

    Although, I think the headline should be ‘Emile Hirsch Charged with Felony Assault on Paramount Picture Executive’ not just ‘on Woman’.

    • Had Enough says:

      The entire headline should read ‘Emile Hirsch charged with Felony Assault on Paramount Executive Dani Bernfeld in Afterhours Nightclub Incident’. A Google search returns glowing magazine profiles of the young ‘hotshot’ executive with sultry photographs of the then-28 year old Vice President in alluring poses. If a major publicly traded entertainment corporation wishes to have senior executives with the age and maturity level of junior staffers, they run the risk that their senior executives are exposed in engaging in behavior that is more typical of that age level. There is no excuse for what the actor did, but it is really unlikely that he just randomly grabbed some woman in a chokehold. She should not have been assaulted, but it doesn’t seem like a good idea to be in a nightclub at 3:30 am on a business trip.

      • J.E. Vizzusi says:

        As a Filmmaker, when they say Business I say lets have fun and when they say lets have fun I say lets get down to Business. Sundance was never intended to become a corporate highway for traders and buyers mostly stealing Film’s from unsuspecting Filmmakers. Its become outright Down and Dirty.

  9. Lisa says:

    This happens all the time. Most of the time the guy is never charged. What he was trying to do was demean her and intimidate her by using force. I’m glad she reported him to the police. I’m glad he has been charged because that means that the police are finally taking these assaults on women seriously.

    • Cameron says:

      You don’t know what happened, were you there? All you have is her side of supposedly what happened. Yea he just attacked her and choked her for no reason… sure.

      • Ann says:

        Oh so you’re the “she deserved the violence because she couldn’t keep her mouth shut” kind of guys, huh?

      • Thomas says:

        It doesn’t matter why. If you choke someone – you’re gonna pay the price. Don’t try to justify this shit.

  10. conshimfee says:

    really? gonna leave these comments up?

  11. DG says:

    There’s got to me more to this than just what we’re reading here.

  12. Cait says:

    This nobody…

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