Actor Emile Hirsch faces assault charge for allegedly choking woman

29-year-old actor Emile Hirsch, best known for starring in the film Into The Wild, allegedly put a film executive in a chokehold until she blacked out momentarily, on Jan 25, 2015. -- PHOTO: AFP
29-year-old actor Emile Hirsch, best known for starring in the film Into The Wild, allegedly put a film executive in a chokehold until she blacked out momentarily, on Jan 25, 2015. -- PHOTO: AFP

Actor Emile Hirsch has been slapped with an aggravated assault charge, say reports from the Guardian and People magazine.

The 29-year-old, best known for starring in the film Into The Wild, allegedly put a film executive in a chokehold until she blacked out momentarily. This happened on Jan 25 at the Tao Nightclub in Utah, during the Sundance Film Festival.

Daniele Bernfeld from Paramount Pictures told police that the actor, whom she had never met before the incident, seemed intoxicated when he approached her. He asked why she looked "so tough" and told her she was a "rich kid who should not be at Sundance", said the police report.

Bernfeld says she walked away and sat down at a table with friends, but he followed her and started strangling her. Two passers-by had to pull him off after he "pulled her across the table and onto the floor". Police officers were called to the nightclub after the victim reported the altercation.

One of the police officers said that Hirsch, who was at Sundance for the premiere of the drama Ten Thousand Saints, could not keep his balance, had slurred speech, smelled of alcohol, and had bloodshot eyes.

Celebrity news website TMZ quotes Hirsch's spokesman, Robert Offer, as saying: "Emile consumed an enormous amount of alcohol on the evening in question and he has no memory of what happened.

"Emile takes these allegations very seriously, and is devastated that any of this has occurred. A few days after the incident, Emile sought help and checked himself into an alcohol rehabilitation facility, where he remains today, to ensure nothing like this ever happens again."

Hirsch is due in court on March 16. He was also charged with intoxication, a misdemeanour. He could face up to five years in prison and a $5,000 fine if convicted of the third-degree felony aggravated assault charge.