Academy countersues Oscar 'detainee' for trespass

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Academy countersues Oscar 'detainee' for trespass

Wed Apr 28, 2010 @ 03:13PM PST

By Matthew Belloni

Avila EXCLUSIVE: Now this is getting interesting. The Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences has just countersued the actor who claims he was unlawfully detained for six hours outside the Oscars in March.

In a cross-complaint filed today, AMPAS says Michael Avila (aka Michael Avmen) trespassed by crashing the Oscars red carpet and later admitted he and his wife didn't have tickets to the event.

"Knowing that they did not have tickets, the Avilas ignored various signs advising that trespassers would be subject to arrest and advising that only ticketed guests were permitted on the red carpet," the cross-complaint says.

The Avilas allegedly proceeded from the Hollywood Roosevelt hotel down the red carpet until they were asked for their tickets. When they said they didn't have them, they were interviewed by Academy attorneys. During the interrogation, the duo allegedly said they thought an Academy employee was "attempting" to get them tickets, "notwithstanding that doing so would be in violation of the Academy's ticket distribution rules and security procedures," the cross-complaint states. Michael Avila is then said to have confessed that he had tried to get tickets and was unsuccessful.

The court filing by longtime Academy attorney David Quinto at L.A.'s Quinn Emanuel firm also lays out the reason why such tight security measures are in place at the Oscars:

"When persons such as the Avilas attempt to crash the Academy Awards, a burden is placed on the Academy's security personnel" that requires them to be "accompanied by off-duty police officers at all times." Those without tickets must be interviewed, photographed and their claims investigated "in the midst of intense pressure to get all invitees admitted and seated in time for the live telecast."

The cross-complaint seeks injunctive relief barring the Avilas from attending future Oscar ceremonies (unless as a nominee) and more than $200,000 in damages for trespass, representing the Avilas' "pro rata share of its security costs."

We've reached out to Avila/Avmen for comment. He hasn't been shy about his feelings toward the Academy, so check back for an update with his response. 

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