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Some shrug him off as a harmless jokester. Many others consider him a legitimate threat to celebrity safety. What’s certain, however, is that Vitalii Sediuk has a keen knack for getting the world to sit up and take notice of him.
The latest headline-grabbing incident occurred Thursday evening in Paris as Kim Kardashian — accompanied by husband Kanye West and mother Kris Jenner — emerged from a car to attend a Balmain show at Paris Fashion Week.
In what TMZ touts as a “crazy video” capturing the incident, amid a chaotic melee of fans, photographers and security guards swarming the trio, a figure is seen leaping toward Kardashian, causing her to lose her footing.
Early reports suggested the tackler was Sediuk, who — in a scene highly reminiscent of similar ones in Cannes (where he crawled beneath America Ferrera‘s dress) and the May 28 Maleficent premiere in Hollywood (where he leaned over a barrier to ambush Brad Pitt with an embrace) — is then buried by a phalanx of security guards. Jenner can then be seen giving the attacker several kicks for good measure.
Speaking exclusively to The Hollywood Reporter by phone from his home in Paris, Sediuk confirms it was him.
“I had a feeling that Kim would show up there because she is friends with the designer of Balmain,” Sediuk says, referring to 28-year-old fashion prodigy Olivier Rousteing. “I basically came there just for them. I knew they were going to be the biggest guests of the night.”
The Ukraine-born former entertainment journalist has been trying in recent months to get a modeling career off the ground, with little success. He therefore finds himself falling back again and again on his most noteworthy talent, if you could call it that: stirring up mayhem at star-studded events.
Sediuk’s modus operandi involves little pre-planning or even much sense. In one of his most favored “pranks,” he simply drops to his knees in front of a male movie star and throws his arms around their legs. Sometimes, as with recent incidents involving Bradley Cooper and Leonardo DiCaprio, they laugh it off.
With Pitt, however, things went deeply awry. Reports claimed that Sediuk, who spent two nights in jail after the attack, had punched the star in the face. Pitt later clarified that that wasn’t what happened, but the actor nevertheless filed a restraining order against Sediuk, whom he characterized as “a nutter.”
Sediuk claims to have learned from past mistakes, and says that when he realized Kardashian was the easiest mark, he was careful not to take things too far.
“If it was Kanye West, I would have done it like I did it with Bradley Cooper and Leonardo DiCaprio,” he says. “But with Kim Kardashian, I was very cautious because I know she is a woman — so I kind of hugged her legs. I already had a bad experience with America Ferrera. It’s different with men.”
Sediuk, who only last week told THR that he had sworn off celebrity ambushes forever, says he mounted the stunt because he was trying to “bring attention to my protest.” (He is protesting being placed by U.S. Customs and Border Protection on a no-fly list, which he learned as he attempted to board a Los Angeles-bound plane from Istanbul to begin 52 court-ordered psychological counseling sessions.)
“It doesn’t bring me anything,” Sediuk says of the stunts. “It doesn’t bring me income. I’m already banned in America. I could be banned in the European Union next. I hope I will not be.”
No criminal charges have yet been leveled against him for the Kardashian incident, which he walked away from.
“There were no police there,” recalls Sediuk of the mayhem that allowed him to have such easy access to Kardashian and West. He wonders if they may have wanted it that way. “Maybe they were looking for that. Because those pictures look like you are a God coming from the cross amid millions of fans and photographers. Maybe they’re interested in that,” he says. Sediuk also admits he may suffer from a bit of that condition himself.
“I like attention,” he acknowledges. “I like the show business world. But it’s obviously not my intention to offend someone. It looks like I’m a monster, but I’m a normal guy. Well, what I’m doing isn’t normal — but I don’t have bad intentions.”
Sediuk stresses that his focus now is on landing a legitimate job, preferably in entertainment reporting — the Ferrera incident cost him his job with Ukraine’s 1+1 TV — or hosting a comedy variety show. He laughs off rumors that he is from a fabulously wealthy family that bankrolls his exploits. His parents both work at an airport, he says, and only occasionally offer him modest financial support in certain “extreme situations.”
“They are worried about me always,” Sediuk sighs. “They say, ‘Why are you doing this? You have some talent. Why don’t you show it?’ ”
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