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Academy Lawyer Threatens Grammys Crasher: Stay Away From the Oscars (Exclusive)
Ukrainian TV prankster Vitalii Sediuk is warned he'll be "arrested and prosecuted" should he try to sneak into the awards.
The Oscars are taking no chances when it comes to Vitalii Sediuk, the Ukrainian TV journalist and prankster who recently crashed the Grammys and briefly took the stage alongside Jennifer Lopez and Adele.
In a strongly-worded letter sent to Sediuk on Feb. 20 and obtained by The Hollywood Reporter, Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences lawyer David W. Quinto warns that if Sediuk attempts to attend the Feb. 24 awards ceremony or the Governor's Ball afterparty, he "will be arrested and prosecuted."
Read the letter here.
Sediuk, 24, tells THR he was hoping to attend the Oscars and even showed up at the Academy's press accreditation office this week to attempt to pick up a credential on behalf of Eurovision, a network of European channels that provides a live broadcast of the Oscars for Sudiuk's Studio 1 + 1. But instead of an invite to the show, he received a lawyer letter.
"For security reasons," Quinto's letter continues, "the Academy cannot permit uninvited persons to attend, and, therefore, is forced to arrest such persons to ensure the safety of its invited guests and deter others from attempting to crash those events."
"If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me," the letter ends.
Sediuk's brazen Grammy-night prank landed him in jail for one night. He was freed the next morning pending a court date on March 4.
The Academy, of course, has a history of legal fracases. Via its longtime law firm, Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan, the organization has vigorously policed unauthorized use of the Oscar statuette and taken a hard-line stance against crashers at the annual awards ceremony.
In 2010, AMPAS was involved in litigation with Michael AvMen, an actor who was detained on the red carpet for allegedly attempting to enter the Oscars without a ticket. AvMen sued, claiming he was unlawfully detained for more than six hours. The Academy then countersued to recover $200,000 in expenses for the "pro rata share of its security costs." The case settled.
And in October, the Academy sued a man it believed had sold the Oscar earned in 1979 by Aaron Rochin for his sound work on Deer Hunter, which went missing after it was taken in for repairs. The case settled in January.
Sediuk has released a video mocking the Academy lawyer letter. In the clip, he wears a swan costume and holds a basket filled with Oscars. He tells THR he chose the outfit in reference to Bjork’s performance and dress at the 2001 Oscars.