Politics ain’t beanbag but, if press reports are to be believed, a well-known Hollywood actor and producer may have thrown more than a multi-colored children’s toy at a couple in Atlanta.
A casual conversation with other two hotel guests reportedly turned tense when the subject of the Democratic presidential primary was broached. The New Orleans native, an ardent supporter of former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, allegedly assaulted a woman and her boyfriend at the midtown Loews Hotel around 3:30 a.m. The alleged incident took place in The Lobby, an open bar sandwiched between the guest check-in desk and a restaurant, and a go-to venue for private receptions and after-work cocktails for Atlanta’s business and entertainment class.
The couple, said to be supporters of Bernie Sanders, said Pierce became enraged when the unknown woman declared her support for the Vermont senator. Pierce, who most recently co-starred in the HBO drama Confirmation in the role of Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, allegedly pushed a male victim and then “went after his girlfriend… grabbing her hair and smacking her in the head,” according to TMZ.
Ironically, Pierce also brought the role of storied civil rights leader and Atlanta icon Rev. Hosea Williams to life in the movie Selma. Williams was known to be civil, but tough.
Sources contacted by The Daily Beast disputed the described events, saying the woman stepped into an altercation already under way.
Hotel security was alerted a short time later. The security staff, following protocol, alerted the Atlanta Police Department. The actor and political activist was arrested on battery charges. Pierce was released after posting a $1,000 bond, according to the Fulton County website.
An APD spokesman said the full report will be available as early as Monday but offered few specifics about the arrest. According to the official statement, responding officers had no knowledge of Pierce’s celebrity. The officers did not ask, nor did Pierce offer the information at the time of his arrest.
“The incident did not rise to anything significant so no special notification was made,” said Atlanta police spokesman Donald Hannah in a public statement. “It was treated like any other arrest a patrol officer conducts.”
Prior to the incident, Pierce has been openly critical of the Sanders campaign, noting what he called “empty” plans.
Notably, Pierce launched a nonprofit to build affordable solar and geothermal homes for displaced families after Hurricane Katrina. He and his business partners also started a chain of grocery stores, called Sterling Farms, designed to serve “food deserts.”
Attempts to reach Pierce were unsuccessful.