Actor Emile Hirsch began serving 15 days in a Utah jail yesterday after pleading guilty to misdemeanor assault for putting a female studio executive in a chokehold and body-slamming her at a nightclub during the Sundance Film Festival. The Into the Wild star told a judge he was sorry and was learning to take responsibility for his actions, saying he has no excuse for what happened Jan. 25 at the Tao nightclub in Park City. But the victim says Hirsch's punishment should have been tougher. Hirsch was intoxicated and taking medications when he dragged the woman across a table, according to police and prosecutors. "I know it was completely wrong and reckless and irresponsible," said Hirsch, 30. "I have no excuses for not remembering. I put those chemicals inside me."
Hirsch's deal with prosecutors also calls for a $4,750 fine and 50 hours of community service, and he has been ordered not to drink or use drugs. His victim, an executive for Paramount subsidiary Insurge Pictures, said in a statement read in court that the violent and unprovoked attack caused long-lasting effects beyond physical injuries. "It took two people to pull him off me, and if not for their intervention, the attack would have continued," she said. "I thought I was going to die." She said authorities treated her with respect and dignity, but she's disappointed that prosecutors agreed to a deal that meets the bare minimum. "If a violent attack in front of a roomful of witnesses can be labeled a misdemeanor and dismissed, what of women who are assaulted while alone in hallways or bathrooms, or behind the closed doors of their own homes?" she said.