LOS ANGELES – Despite the A-listers on hand at many Hollywood movie premieres, and the publicity they receive beforehand, security at these events can be spotty at best.
Some industry experts say given the casual approach to red carpet premieres, and society’s growing obsession with famous faces, it’s just a matter of time before something serious happens.
“These red carpets have always been shockingly lax. I have been covering these for over a decade, and the system has always been the same. Anyone can just tell a guard ‘I am with the media’ and you often just bypass through with those simple words,” media consultant Natalie Rotman told Entertainment Magazine. “Over the years, it has become even more relaxed. With the huge amount of media outlets now including online, there just aren’t enough people to take time to check the proper documentation. Dramatic and swift steps need to be taken.”
Last week, Rotman’s fears were realized when Ukrainian journalist Vitalii Sediuk jumped a makeshift barricade and lunged at Brad Pitt at the “Maleficent” premiere in Hollywood. A couple weeks earlier, he scooted under actress America Ferrera’s dress at the premiere of “How to Train Your Dragon 2” in Cannes, France.
So how did he get so close?
Most red carpet events are different than a big awards show like the Oscars or Grammys. Those require extensive documentation and photographs to be submitted months in advance in order to be approved for a computer-coded credential pass, which is followed up with metal detectors and bag checks on arrival.
None of that happens at a normal premiere, where the theater hosting the event contracts with a private security firm whose main job it is to keep things calm and make sure the necessary permits are in order.
If a star is truly concerned, he or she will usually dig into their own pockets and hire personal protection.
“When you get to the event, yes there is in-house security present, but they are there to protect the event and the establishment as a whole, not just one person,” noted Sonny Seyedi, a former U.S Marine turned security professional. “That is why it seems so lax, and thus that is the main reason why personal protection is hired.”
A highly-ranked LAPD insider says there are additional layers of security that go into a celebrity event that many may not notice.
“There is security at the venue itself, and then are layers (of personnel) from the extreme exterior to the carpet itself and the interior event. Depending on the event, the local police and traffic officers are involved in the planning in terms of traffic and road closures,” said the source. “But even for the celebrities or VIPs with their own security, they leave them at the door and don’t enter.”
In the case of the Brad Pitt incident last week, we’re told that the LAPD was nearby but not working the event. When the episode occurred, security detained the suspect, and authorities were then called to make the arrest.
An LAPD spokesperson declined to comment.
Despite the scare, people we talked to don’t see anything changing anytime soon. Pitt’s fiancee Angelina Jolie said they wouldn’t be changing anything at future red carpets.
“Part of what brings the energy to red carpets are the screaming fans. Without them, it would be boring,” explained Glenn Selig of The Publicity Agency. “And let’s face it, premieres are a narcissist’s dream – people shouting your name, the cameras capturing you signing for autographs and making you larger than life.”
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