Emile Hirsch says he’s taken responsibility for a brutal assault on a female studio executive, sobered up, and apologized profusely for an act he’s called “completely wrong and reckless.”A Utah court believed him and slapped him with a fairly lenient sentence that has his victim up in arms.
“If a violent attack in front of a roomful of witnesses can be labeled a misdemeanor and dismissed, what of women who are assaulted while alone in hallways or bathrooms, or behind the closed doors of their own homes?” said Daniele Bernfeld in a statement, the Associated Press reported.
For the January incident with the Insurge Pictures (a subsidiary of Paramount Pictures) executive, Hirsch will serve 15 days in jail, pay a fine, and perform 50 hours of community service. If he serves his time peacefully, the charge will be dropped, Entertainment Weekly added.
The prosecutor in the case, Summit County Attorney Robert Hilder, said he believes the sentence is enough to teach Emile a lesson.
Months later, Hirsch has given no motive for the violent attack against the executive at a nightclub during the Sundance Film Festival. He was too drunk to remember, having consumed alcohol and taken unspecified medication. In July, some disturbing details were released: Daniele said Emile “choked me up, threw me across the table, and I felt the front of my throat hit the back of my throat,” Deadline reported at the time. He also body-slammed her.
Hirsch explained his actions by saying the victim “started kind of causing a ruckus and I sort of started getting intervening and this happened. I don’t think it was much more than that to be honest… I think she had a go at me and I probably defended myself.”
Emile has since been to rehab and learned that it’s important “not just saying I’m sorry, but letting my actions line up with my words.”
The Washington Post pointed out that Hirsch’s violent assault puts him in a growing “crew of male celebrities” whose abuse of women is being publicized. Among this so-called crew: Bill Cosby, Ray Rice, Dr. Dre, and Sean Penn.
Though Bernfeld said the punishment against Emile for what the prosecutor admits was a “terrifying experience” isn’t nearly enough, the attorney has noted that no amount of jail time would’ve been sufficient. And the court has spoken — it commended the actor for getting sober and apologizing, Hilder pointed out.
“I don’t how many of you good gentleman have spent 15 days in jail, but 15 minutes is too much for me. I think he will learn from that.”
But then there’s Daniele’s account of her fear that night — and her reticence to press charges, given Emile’s celebrity status — as she struggled under his sudden assault.
“It took two people to pull him off me, and if not for their intervention, the attack would have continued. I thought I was going to die.”
What do you think? Is 15 days in jail sufficient punishment? Do you believe Emile’s apology? Sound off in the comments.
[Photo Courtesy Chad Hurst / Getty Images]