Tonight on the red carpet in Cannes, a man grabbed America Ferrera by the ankles and stuck his head under her dress. The man, Vitalii Sediuk, has a history of this kind of behavior. In 2012, he tried to kiss Will Smith and ended up getting slapped in the face. In 2013, he was arrested on stage at the Grammys for crashing Adele’s acceptance speech. This past January, he buried his face in Bradley Cooper’s crotch at the SAG Awards.
There are a number of incredibly upsetting elements here. How is this man allowed within a million miles of a red carpet? He had press credentials around his neck, though it’s not clear if they were valid, fake, or stolen. But the most upsetting part of this whole story (for people who aren’t America Ferrera, at least) is how the media in general is portraying Sediuk. First of all, he’s being referred to by most outlets as “journalist Vitalii Sediuk,” but that’s only accurate if schools are now giving degrees in crotch shots, as that seems to be extent of his career. The worst, though, is that just every piece of coverage on this has adopted the term “prankster.” This makes Sediuk read like Dennis the Menace, rather than the abhorrent predator that he is. I don’t think I’m being irrational when I make the distinction between a playful, if over the line prank, and what this actually was: an invasive, humiliating sexual attack.
A side note: Let it be known that the first person to push the guy away and comfort Ferrera was (reportedly) the goddess Cate Blanchett, while others (including Ferrera herself) initially looked on, confused.