James Franco sued for allegedly headbutting photographer in cemetery

Actor James Franco from "The Fixer" poses at the Tribeca Film Festival Getty Images Studio on April 16, 2016 in New York City. Larry Busacca/Getty Images

A lawsuit has been filed against actor James Franco by a photographer who claims that the This Is The End actor assaulted him at a Lana Del Rey concert in October 2014.

In a suit filed in Los Angeles Monday, plantiff David Tonnessen said he was taking photos of Del Rey at the Hollywood Forever Cemetery when he heard a commotion behind him. When Tonnessen turned to see where the noise was coming from, he saw Franco standing near him in the crowd.

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According to court documents obtained by Variety, the Pineapple Express actor smiled “rather demonically” at Tonnessen, and “with a blank expression of joy on his face,” charged at him. Tonnessen said he was headbutted in the stomach and knocked to the ground. After getting knocked over, he says Franco ran off into the crowd, leaving him wounded.

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Tonnessen says he required hospitalization, and he suffered “severe and permanent physical and psychological injuries.”

Tonnessen is suing Franco for assault, battery and intentional infliction of emotional distress, and is seeking monetary and punitive damages.

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Tonnessen has hid his own troubles with the law; he was arrested in 2008 as part of a crackdown on paparazzi who were allegedly blocking the sidewalk outside a Los Angeles medical centre as they waited to take photos of Britney Spears and Lindsay Lohan.

Del Rey performed concerts on back-to-back nights at the cemetery, which is an actual cemetery and also a concert venue, on Oct. 17 and 18 of 2014 as part of her Ultraviolence tour.

Franco has long been known to be a fan of the Young and Beautiful singer. In 2015, he published a book called Flip-Side: Real and Imaginary Conversations with Lana Del Rey, having previously penned a short essay about her for V Magazine.

Del Rey has said that she admires Franco’s work and “became friends” with him recently. “He’s someone I artistically look up to. That scenario is rare,” she said.

Franco and his reps have not responded publicly to the allegations as of this writing.

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