Vitalli Sediuk, regarded as a “Ukrainian prankster”, may have finally gone one step too far on Wednesday night. At the premiere of Disney’s Maleficent, starring Angelina Jolie, Sediuk broke past barriers separating the paparazzi from celebrities. He attempted to land a kiss on Jolie’s fiancé, actor Brad Pitt. He was eventually brought down by bodyguards, although Pitt nearly suffered injury. In fact, the 50-year-old had his sunglasses broken during the incident. The 25-year-old Sediuk was arrested at the scene and hauled off to jail to be booked on suspicion of misdemeanor battery. Pitt placed an order of protection against Sediuk, forcing him to stay more than 500 feet away for the next five days. This is not the first time that Sediuk has gotten too close for comfort in regards to a celebrity. Why is it taking so long to put an end to these “pranks”?
If the name Vitalli Sediuk is not familiar to you, his actions are. A little over a week ago at the Cannes Film Festival, he somehow made his way past security again and ended up underneath the dress of actress America Ferrera. The 30-year-old had been posing for pictures at the premiere of How to Train Your Dragon 2. Sediuk made his way onto the red carpet and suddenly, ended up underneath her. As she realized what was happening and attempted to get away, he grabbed hold of her ankle until security eventually stepped in.
“I don’t even know what happened,” she admitted to Vulture. “I feel something behind me, and [then] there’s this guy under my dress.”
Another invasive moment took place in January of 2014. Sediuk breached the Golden Globe Awards red carpet and hugged the leg of actor Bradley Cooper, snuggling his head against Cooper’s crotch area. In February, he did the same thing to actor Leonardo DiCaprio at the Santa Barbara International Film Festival. Last year, he somehow made it onto the stage of the Staples Center in Los Angeles. There, he attempted to interrupt a speech given by the singer, Adele, as she accepted a Grammy award. He was later arrested for trespassing and thrown in jail.
All of this brings to mind the scary attack at a meet-and-greet for the J-pop group, AKB48, in Japan. On Sunday, 24-year-old Satoru Umeta managed to slip past low security points and attack two members of the music group, as well as a staff member. Umeta was not a fan of the group and many have considered the high-school dropout, a “jobless lunatic”. Although certain events are for a highly regarded few to attend, there are always others who find their way to them. The AKB48 incident shows that not everyone in the crowd turns up at an event in hopes of getting close to their favorite stars.
Moments such as with what happened with Brad Pitt have become more recurrent. Celebrities are never one to take a second glance around the crowd at these busy events. Security teams, as well as people hired to watch over those events, should be on point. Why did it take so long for Vitalli Sediuk to be arrested again? Also, why is he not being further punished for these “prankster” moments? The first of these actions occurred two years ago and still, he is able to get away with them.
In 2012, Sediuk showed up to the premiere of Men in Black 3, disguised as a member of the media. As actor Will Smith made his way down the line of reporters, Sediuk seemed to interview Smith before grabbing him and planting kisses on his cheeks. In a moment of shock, Smith pushed Sediuk back, questioned what he was doing and smacked him in the face, before being pulled away. Considering the caliber of Smith’s celebrity, it is a bit questionable that nothing more happened following the antic.
The premiere of Maleficent was a family affair for many. Children were a part of the crowd and perhaps security should have been more mindful. Although Vitalli Sediuk is probably someone who thinks he is causing no harm, it could have been a different matter altogether. To bring back the frightening AKB48 attack, not everyone who is among a crowd of well-wishers is attending with good intent in their hearts and / or minds. To date, Sediuk has gotten a bit too close for comfort with five celebrities; many more, if you include other celebrities who appear at events like these.
We never know how dangerous a person can be and things could have been a lot direr. With the attack on Brad Pitt now becoming a part of a long list, what is taking so long for others to realize that there is a serious problem in these security breaches? Celebrities are human beings, just like everyone else, and they deserve to feel safe and be protected. This time, it ended with a pair of broken sunglasses. What will happen the next time if someone else pulls out a weapon? Oh, wait…
Opinion by Jonathan Brown