Another week, another famous woman harassed and assaulted by an unemployed Ukrainian prankster.
On Wednesday, multi-hyphenate Kim Kardashian was approached on the streets of Paris by a strange man, who proceeded to kneel down and literally kiss her ass. Like many gross men who don’t respect women’s bodies and personal space, Kardashian’s attacker wore ripped jeans and a fedora. As he softly pressed his lips against Kim K’s famous derriere, her security pounced, and the subject was taken down faster than a fainting model at Yeezy Season 4.
Kardashian’s only comment on the attack was a short Tweet: “My security is a G.”
Kardashian’s attacker was quickly identified as none other than disgraced celebrity reporter Vitalii Sediuk, who most recently “pranked” model Gigi Hadid by attempting to pick her up outside of a Milan fashion week show. Sediuk boasted about physically immobilizing the 21-year-old woman to The Hollywood Reporter, explaining, “While I consider Gigi Hadid beautiful, she and her friend Kendall Jenner have nothing to do with high fashion. By doing this, I encourage the fashion industry to put true talents on the runway and Vogue covers instead of well-connected cute girls from Instagram.”
What Sediuk calls “manifest or a protest,” we call pure and simple street harassment. As Hadid tweeted following the incident, “How dare that idiot thinks he has the right to man-handle a complete stranger.” While Sediuk was quickly set straight by Hadid’s powerful right hook—never underestimate a woman with an Equinox membership—the 27-year-old celebrity harasser is clearly back to his old tricks. Sediuk first “pranked” Kim Kardashian back in 2014, when he tackled the star and almost knocked her to the ground outside of a fashion show.
Sediuk’s rap sheet is a veritable who’s who of celebrity victims. The Ukrainian prankster is nothing if not predictable, routinely targeting A-listers for his off-brand, untelevised Punk’d spinoff. In 2012, he attempted to make out with Will Smith at a Men in Black 3 premiere, eliciting a slap from the superstar and a cry of “What the hell is wrong with you?” In 2014, Sediuk stuck his face in Brad Pitt’s crotch at the worldwide premiere of Maleficent. He has nuzzled Bradley Cooper’s junk, snuck under America Ferrera’s dress, and even interrupted Adele on stage. Freaking Adele.
In some ways, Sediuk’s voracious appetite for celebrity genitalia, which spans stars of all genders and ages, is a beautiful thing. His pranks distill our universal celebrity lust and reveal the fawning madness behind star worship and fetishization. Simultaneously, his red carpet intrusions quickly wipe the shiny Hollywood veneer off star-studded functions. In two seconds, he managed to incite Will Smith to physical violence, and showed the world that Gigi Hadid is actually a badass. Of course, the magnetic quality of these mini disruptions is entirely due to the fact that Sediuk is playing with, studying, and “protesting” celebrity. This people-as-props mentality utterly erases the humanity of Sediuk’s victims.
America Ferrera may very well be a fan of experimental performance art in her spare time, but she didn’t consent to having her How to Train Your Dragon 2 red carpet appearance coopted by a strange man hiding in her skirt. By asserting his self-proclaimed right to other people’s bodies, Sediuk isn’t being original or insightful—he’s just mirroring the sort of street harassment and invasive treatment that people, especially women, have always faced. At the end of the day, Sediuk isn’t an activist, an artist, or a revolutionary. He’s just another dude with an unsolicited opinion, touching a woman’s ass on the sidewalk.
After her encounter with Sediuk turned violent, Hadid told Lenny Letter, “I just want to use what happened to me to show that it’s everyone’s right, and it can be empowering, to be able to defend yourself.” Kardashian’s altercation holds an equally important lesson, and one that people often forget when discussing the genetically blessed reality TV star. Kim Kardashian’s body doesn’t belong to her Instagram followers, her fans, or even her haters—it belongs to Kim Kardashian. After years of dissecting her derriere in think pieces, disseminating her nudes and even pouring over her ass scans, it’s easy to fall into the trap of thinking that this level of access is an irrevocable right, as opposed to a privilege.
Kardashian has spoken out about this issue before. In a recent Wonderland cover interview, she described her ongoing war against invasive paps: “Sometimes photographers will get down and zoom in on my butt. So I’ll put my hand over my butt. It’s my way of saying: ‘Fuck you, stop laying on the ground just to get a picture up my ass.’ Literally they’re constantly up my ass and I’m over it.” Kardashian’s booty may have been an early staple of her brand, but it’s safe to say that half of the #WorldsMostTalkedAboutCouple can no longer be summed up in a single peach emoji. And while it’s one thing—one gross, immature thing—to reduce an adult woman to a single facet of her anatomy, it’s quite another to invade her personal space for a closer look.
Sediuk’s street harassment Euro Tour raises a number of important questions. Given the proximity of this ass kissing to his Hadid altercation, Sediuk has clearly increased the frequency of his attacks. In addition to, inexplicably, not being in jail, the prankster has also managed to travel from Milan to Paris. It’s almost as if Sediuk, who was fired from his last known job at Ukrainian TV channel 1+1, has some sort of prank-obsessed sugar daddy. (Ashton Kutcher, is that you?) Rapid-fire pranks aside, Sediuk isn’t a single step closer to achieving his goals, which appear to be sleeping with a celebrity and/or changing the fashion industry forever. Like many street harassers, Sediuk seems less set on tangible personal results, and more amped on the idea of scaring women and making them uncomfortable. Just wait until Sediuk tries to tell Lena Dunham to “smile more.”