Gene Hackman reportedly knew the homeless man he slapped last week after the man became aggressive toward the 82-year-old actor and his wife, police in New Mexico say.
The man had received clothes, money, and rides from Gene Hackman in the past, CBS News reported. Details of a police report which came out Thursday showed differing accounts of the incident, with the homeless man claiming Hackman was the aggressor and Hackman saying he acted in self-defense.
Hackman said that he knew the man, 63-year-old Bruce Becker, for several years before the incident. Becker confirmed the story to police.
Hackman said he slapped the man once after the man threatened his wife and became aggressive, but Becker said it was more like 10 to 12 times.
There was no disagreement about the context of the incident. Both Becker and Gene Hackman told police that the confrontation happened after Becker approached the actor on the street early Tuesday afternoon and asked him for money.
Becker said Gene Hackman called him a worthless bum, to which the homeless man replied, “Gene, you are just another Clint Eastwood, you are nothing but an empty chair,” an apparent reference to Eastwood’s speech at the Republican National Convention.
Becker said from there Gene Hackman “went berserk” and hit him numerous times, the Santa Fe New Mexican reported.
Police in Santa Fe said Gene Hackman acted in self-defense in the incident and would not face any charges.
Gene Hackman, who won Academy Awards for The French Connection and Unforgiven, owns a home in Santa Fe with his wife.