Another day, another accused abuser returning to cable television.
On Thursday, USA network’s Shooter aired the first episode of its third season. The drama, which features Ryan Phillippe as the titular shooter, is back in the wake of intimate partner violence allegations against its star—allegations that have seemingly been forgotten by employers and fans alike.
In September, 2017, news broke that a young model named Elsie Hewitt was suing her ex, Ryan Phillippe. In the $1 million lawsuit Hewitt, an Instagram influencer, model, and actress, alleged assault, battery, and intentional infliction of emotional distress. According to the suit, Hewitt and Phillippe’s romantic relationship began in April 2017: “Phillippe made clear to Hewitt that he wanted to spend all of his free time with Hewitt,” the legal documents state. “Phillippe routinely monitored Hewitt’s physical whereabouts using the ‘Find My Friends’ app on his iPhone. Whenever the two were separated, Phillippe texted Hewitt to inquire what she was doing when she was at locations unfamiliar to Phillippe.”
The lawsuit goes on to describe the rapid deterioration of the relationship, specifically invoking the negative effects of “drug and alcohol abuse.” Hewitt allegedly “increasingly observed” the actor abusing both legal and illegal drugs: “cocaine, ecstasy, psychedelic mushrooms, and steroids.” The docs claim that Phillippe “increasingly combined these drugs with excessive alcohol consumption and often exhibited symptoms attendant of poly drug and alcohol abuse, including mood swings and bouts of anger.”
Worried about Phillippe’s “physical and emotional wellbeing,” Hewitt says that she advised Phillippe to curtail his drug use. However, at a party on the night of July 3, 2017, Phillippe was allegedly “drinking heavily.” Hewitt left the party three hours after Phillippe, and went to his house to pick up some of her belongings. According to the lawsuit, “Phillippe greeted Hewitt outside his bedroom, where he was discernibly drunk and high.” At one point Hewitt, who had brought a friend along with her, claimed she asked to speak to Phillippe briefly, which they did while sitting on his staircase. Allegedly feeling unsafe in the presence of the “agitated and hostile” actor, Hewitt “rose to gather her belongings from his bedroom and leave his house.” She also called for her friend, “because she feared that Phillippe would harm her.”
“Phillippe reacted by attacking Hewitt,” the lawsuit continues. “He grabbed Hewitt’s upper arm so tightly that his grip left heavy bruises on her arms hours later. He then braced his body and violently threw her down his staircase as hard as he could.”
“When Hewitt finally made it back to the top of the second staircase to pick up her belongings, Phillippe repeatedly grabbed Hewitt, struck her, cornered her, kicked her, and aggressively pushed her to the ground,” says the lawsuit. “At this point, Phillippe picked Hewitt up like a doll and tossed her down the stairs a second time. Hewitt landed on the hard-surface landing separating the first set of stairs from the second one. Hewitt attempted to crawl down the remaining stairs in agonizing pain, but was unable to make it without her friend’s help. As Hewitt and her friend were half-way down the first set of stairs, Phillippe threw Hewitt’s boots down the stairs at Hewitt and shouted, ‘Get the fuck out of my house, you crazy cunt!’”
The suit alleges the Hewitt went to the Emergency Room at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center seeking treatment for her injuries. The police were called, and a report was filed. Additionally, the LAPD issued an Emergency Protective Order forbidding Phillippe to come within 100 yards of Hewitt, which expired on July 12.
“After extensive radiological imaging,” the legal documents claim, “Hewitt’s emergency physicians diagnosed her with chest wall pain, abrasions at multiple sites, and severe bruising.” Hewitt also supplied photographs of the injuries she says were sustained from the attack.
Hewitt’s lawyer, Keith Fink, told People that his client was “not going to take a dime.” He continued, “I am not making a dime, [if she wins the case] the money is going to a domestic violence charity.” Fink told Us Weekly that, “Filing a civil lawsuit where you are going to donate all your money to a domestic violence charity is all about empowering women to stand up against domestic violence. It is not a means for revenge.”
Phillippe responded to the lawsuit a day after it was filed, saying, in part, “Domestic violence is a very real and tragic issue faced by many women the world over and should never be used to vengefully slander or as a ploy for monetary gain.” He continued, “This is wrong. This is not who I am. Every one of my accuser’s allegations are false.”
The actor also stated that, “At the time these allegations were initially made, I fully cooperated with law enforcement and a thorough investigation was conducted.” Authorities told People that the criminal investigation against Phillippe had been closed. A spokesperson for the Los Angeles City Attorney’s office relayed, “After a thorough review, the matter was set for a City Attorney office hearing, during which both parties were present, detailed the incident, were advised on the law and given guidance as to how to avoid similar incidents in the future. No further action has been scheduled following our office hearing.”
In typical TMZ fashion, the gossip site published a report claiming that “Ryan Phillippe’s ex-girlfriend's accusations—that he brutally attacked her and threw her down the stairs—don’t add up ... according to cops.” But in a separate post, TMZ revealed that Phillippe’s ex-fiancee, Paulina Slagter, had filed a harassment report against him the previous March. According to TMZ, “She claimed Ryan sent a slew of texts to her after their breakup—many laced with vulgarities—accusing her of infidelity and attacking her personally. We’re told there were no physical threats but it was ‘aggressive.’ We’re told in at least one of the texts he called her a ‘whore.’ The texts were ‘extremely angry.’”
Law enforcement sources told TMZ that, “Paulina dropped the case shortly after filing it because she didn’t want the publicity.” On September 18, 2017, the day Hewitt filed her lawsuit, Slagter not-so-mysteriously tweeted (then deleted), “......when there’s smoke....”
On November 17, Phillippe made good on threats to take legal action against Hewitt. According to People, “Phillippe’s lawsuit denies the allegations, claiming Hewitt ‘broke into Phillippe’s home in the middle of the night without permission’ and ‘fabricated a story in an unjustified attempt to extort money’ from him to help her modeling career.”
Representatives for Ryan Phillippe and Elsie Hewitt did not respond to a request for comment on the current status of the lawsuits.