When a reporter’s embrace of megastar Will Smith turned overly amorous as the actor worked the red carpet last week to promote his new movie, “Men in Black III,” Smith unleashed the slap that was heard around the world.
Smith, a consummate red-carpet pro, quickly regained his composure after Vitalii Sediuk’s attempt to kiss him.
“He tried to kiss me on my mouth, this joker, he’s lucky I didn’t sucker punch him. Did I just say that on camera?” he said, laughing.
He wasn’t laughing when Sediuk tried to kiss him. The actor shoved Sediuk, stepped away, then turned back and tapped the man’s face with the back of his hand.
This isn’t the first time Sediuk, a Ukrainian TV personality, has tried to gain notoriety for himself at a celebrity’s expense. He presented Madonna with hydrangeas last year at the Venice Film Festival.
The pop icon accepted them, but turned away, rolled her eyes and said to someone off-camera: “I absolutely loathe hydrangeas. He obviously doesn’t know that.”
Unfortunately, the microphone was open and the video of her comments went viral.
Sediuk’s antics aren’t unique. Sometimes reporters and paparazzi do extreme things in order to get a reaction from a celebrity, Piper Weiss of Yahoo! Shine, told “Good Morning America.”
“I think reporters and paparazzi do extreme things, whether they’re pranking or reacting in the moment and crossing lines,” Weiss said.
Remember when Tom Cruise was hit in the face by a stream of water from a joke microphone during the London premiere for the film “War of the Worlds”?
Cruise was incensed, telling the prankster, “That’s incredibly rude. I am here giving you an interview and you do something nasty. You are a jerk.”
TMZ’s cameras recently caught reality-TV princess Kim Kardashian being flour-bombed by a female fan at a fragrance launch.
Sacha Baron Cohen took over the red carpet at this year’s Academy Awards in the persona of Gen. Adm. Haffaz Aladeen from the film “The Dictator.” As Aladeen, Cohen threw the “ashes” of deceased North Korean dictator Kim Jong-Il on “American Idol” host Ryan Seacrest. The ashes (in reality, flour), coated the TV personality’s jacket.
Cohen’s actions might have been purely to drum up publicity for his new movie, but in cases like Smith’s, there could be serious ethical concerns.
“I think the reporter crossed the line,” Weiss said. “Will Smith was justified in defending himself. It’s not professional to invade anybody’s personal space, especially someone that’s a subject that you’re interviewing.”