Lawmakers Go After Award Show Gate Crashers

Oscar-streaker California Assemblyman Anthony Portantino admits that his bill to penalize gate crashers isn’t life-or-death stuff, but he says it is a safety issue, and Sacramento lawmakers are poised to pass it.

Here’s my column on Portantino’s effort, sponsored by the Screen Actors Guild, which caught a few unwanted guests at its most recent award show yet were unable to prosecute because of technicalities in the current trespass laws.

“Gate crasher” immediately conjures up last year’s White House state dinner, but it also brings to mind the most notorious award show infiltrator, Robert Opel, who in 1974 streaked across the Oscar stage. 

That was when the whole idea of sneaking on stage for fame’s sake was novel: Opel wasn’t hauled off by police; he was escorted to the backstage press area.

By the way, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences has video of the 1974 incident here.

Update: Desiree Rogers, the former White House social secretary, gave her first interview on the state dinner. Her biggest regret? Walking past photographers on the way in to the state dinner in November.

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