Emile Hirsch charged with putting a woman in a chokehold at Sundance for being 'rich'

The actor faces up to five years in jail if found guilty of aggravated assault

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The Independent Online

Emile Hirsch has been charged with aggravated assault and intoxication after allegedly choking a female film executive at the Sundance Film Festival.

The actor, best known for his performances in Milk and The Girl Next Door, is alleged to have assaulted Daniele Bernfeld at a nightclub in Park City, Utah, early on the morning of Saturday January 25.

Bernfeld is an executive at Insurge Pictures, part of Paramount Pictures.

Court papers say that Hirsch, 29, approached Bernfeld at Tao Nightclub and asked why she looked "so tough". He's alleged to have said she was a "rich kid who should not be at Sundance".

Hirsch is then said to have grabbed Bernfeld. The court papers say she pushed him away, only for Hirsch to follow her and put her in a chokehold from behind.

It is then alleged that Hirsch "pulled her across the table and onto the floor," and began to strangle her.


Bernfeld said she felt as though "the front and back of her throat were touching", adding that she may have briefly passed out.

Hirsch told police that he did not know Bernfeld prior to the alleged attack., and they were having an argument. He said that he had had three or four drinks.  A police officer told prosecutors that Hirsch's balance was off, he was slurring his words and smelled of alcohol.

The Independent has contacted the actor's representatives for comment.

The actor was at the Utah festival to promote his film Ten Thousand Saints, in which he stars alongside Ethan Hawke. Hirsch is due to appear in court on 16 March. He faces five years in prison if convicted.