It's been more than 20 years since Sean Penn was sent to the pokey for attacking someone who pointed a camera in his direction, and his fuse when faced with a flashbulb apparently remains as short as ever.
On Friday, the ornery Oscar winner, 49, reportedly roughed up a paparazzo who was attempting to document his very noteworthy trip to a Los Angeles grocery store. The shutterbug in question, one Jordan Dawes, has filed a police report against Penn, accusing him of getting physical during the confrontation at the Brentwood Country Mart.
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According to the photographer, it all started when he hopped out of his car to get a better shot of the actor.
"He beelined it for me and started kicking me in the legs," he alleges to E! News. "As I was backing away, I was still shooting. Then he got me to the other side of the street and punched me in the arm and in my camera."
TMZ has a picture of Penn doing a Rockettes impression, which, impressively enough, he manages without tipping the bag of takeout he's carrying.
Dawes claims the star not only warned him that he was going to "put him in a box," but also assured him he wouldn't forget his face.
"It's horrifying," overdramatizes the lensman, who adds that his camera was damaged in the tussle. "I'm all bruised up." He's still mulling over whether to file a civil suit (survey says: He will).
Penn has yet to comment on the incident.
Still, it's not as if Dawes should have expected a big smile and a wave when he started snapping away.
Penn's paparazzi loathing dates back to the days when he was romancing Madonna, an attitude he freely expressed with fisticuffs, foul language and loogie-hawking.
Their Malibu wedding in 1985 sparked such a media frenzy that Sean reportedly wrote "[Bleep] Off" in huge letters in the sand as a message to the paparazzi. Legend has it that he even fired a few shots at the photogs hovering overhead in helicopters.
In 1987, Penn spent more than a month in jail after he assaulted an extra on the set of "Colors" who unwisely tried to take his picture.
"I still think photographers should be lashed out at. They should be put in a cage where you can poke them with a stick for a quarter. But not in a hostile way, just for giggles," Penn told the London Telegraph in 2007. "They really are on the attack against mankind; it's a disease. They should be helped somewhere. But I'd still like to poke them with a stick."
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