During the 2015 Sundance Film Festival, actor Emile Hirsch got into an altercation Paramount Pictures executive Daniele Bernfeld early in the morning on Jan. 25, 2015, at Tao Nightclub in Park City, Utah.
NY Post‘s Page Six reported that police were called at around 3:30 AM local time after Bernfeld told security about the incident. According to police records, Bernfeld told police that after she turned down his advances, a drunk and slurring Hirsch put her in a chokehold from behind, dragged her across a table and body slammed her to the floor. At the time, Hirsch said he didn’t remember exactly what happened, only that she came at him and he was defending himself.
Despite authorities coming to the scene, and Hirsch was handcuffed and questioned, but no arrests were made that night. Bernfeld said she decided to press charges the day after the incident because news of the incident and her name had leaked to the public.
The night of the attack, she said, “I am fundamentally not OK with what happened. It was insanely painful and absolutely terrifying.”
Following the incident, Capt. Phil Kirk, CIO of the Park City PD, said in a statement, “Currently this is an active case that we’re still investigating. We’ll be submitting the case to the Summit County Attorney’s Office for screening as soon as we complete the investigation.”
On Feb. 12, 2015, Hirsch was charged with aggravated assault and intoxication. The felony assault is punishable by up to five years in prison and a $5,000 fine. The intoxication misdemeanor could have gotten Hirsch a $750 fine and 90 days in jail.
Soon after the charges were brought, Hirsch was sent to rehab and so he was excused from following court appearances until June 2015 because he was in rehab.
On August 17, 2015, he pleaded guilty to misdemeanor assault and was sentenced to 15 days in jail, fined $4,750, received 90 days of probation, and ordered to undergo 50 hours of community service.
“Mr. Hirsch did something inexcusable,” Summit County Attorney Robert Hilder said in court when the deal was announced. In Bernfeld’s statement read in court, she said that she thought she “was going to die” when Hirsch was attacking her, said the deal She was the “bare minimum” and she thought he should be punished more.