Tattle: Cops: Gene Hackman slaps homeless man in Santa Fe

Police said Gene Hackman acted in self-defense. (AP Photo/File)
Police said Gene Hackman acted in self-defense. (AP Photo/File)
Posted: November 02, 2012

IT'S BEEN EIGHT YEARS since Gene Hackman last appeared in a movie - 2004's "Welcome to Mooseport."

Since then, except for writing, he's been out of the public eye.

But Hackman popped up in the news Wednesday when Santa Fe, N.M., police said the retired actor unretired and acted in self-defense, slapping a homeless man who had become aggressive toward Hackman and his wife.

The Hackmans have a home in Santa Fe.

The incident occurred Tuesday afternoon in downtown Santa Fe, where there are a lot of homeless people, a lot of jewelry for sale and awesome fajitas.

TMZ.com filled in some details. The Hackmans were leaving a Santa Fe restaurant when a homeless guy named Bruce Becker approached them and called Betsy Hackman a c-word that rhymes with runt.

Her chivalrous husband slapped Becker, 63, across the face.

And after being slapped by an 82-year-old man, Becker called the police.

The Albuquerque Journal fills in more details.

Hackman knew Becker from the neighborhood, knew where he camped and had previously given him rides and clothing.

Hackman said Becker approached him outside the restaurant and asked for money. Hackman turned him down and told him to get a job. Becker kept asking and then dropped his c-bomb. Becker, who had a bag of canned goods in his right hand and was swinging the bag, according to Hackman, then allegedly took a step toward the actor and got slapped. Both men allegedly lost their balance and fell.

Becker's version of the story is that he asked Hackman if he could talk to him and then asked him for money. He said Hackman's answer was, "You are just a bum. You can get a job on your own. You are worthless."

Becker replied, "Gene, you are just another Clint Eastwood. You are nothing but an empty chair."

Even though Becker clearly misunderstood who was the chair in Eastwood's Republican convention skit, Hackman went "ballistic" upon hearing this, said Becker, threw him to the ground and began "pummeling him" between 10 to 12 times. Becker said he did not fight back.

That's Becker's story, and he's sticking to it.

The police report stated Becker had a small red line on his forehead, but showed no evidence of being beaten. He refused medical treatment.

Police were unable to find any witnesses to the alleged assault.

Gosh, if Hackman hung around our new offices at 8th and Market, he'd sure be slapping a lot of people.

The 'Jersey Shore' speaks

It's refreshing to see President Obama and Gov. Christie making nice regarding the Jersey Shore.

But what does Snooki think?

"Sandy destroyed Seaside - our second home," she said in a statement to MTV News (probably written by someone at MTV News). "It's devastating to see our boardwalk and favorite spots ruined. My prayers go out to everyone affected by the storm."

"My thoughts and prayers go out to everyone affected by Hurricane Sandy, especially our friends and family in Seaside Heights," said Pauly D. "A huge thank you to all the men and women who have been working around-the-clock to protect and help everyone. [They are] true heroes."

And JWoww added: "This is a devastating time for the East Coast and my prayers are with everyone. I am thinking about my second family at the Jersey Shore and know that we can rebuild and come back stronger."

The power to entertain

The lights went up again on Broadway on Wednesday for the first time since Sandy gave New York a beatdown, as entertainers headed back to work in a city still wracked by power outages and a suspended subway system.

Some Broadway shows, including "Mary Poppins" and "The Lion King," remained dark.

The company of "Peter and the Starcatcher," the Tony Award-nominated prequel to Peter Pan, faced some tense moments before their matinee as five of their dozen cast members live in Brooklyn and faced a dicey commute. Their Peter Pan, Adam Chanler-Berat, didn't fly to the theater - he biked.

Film and TV production in New York also has largely ceased, as the Mayor's Office of Film, Theatre and Broadcasting is not granting permits to shoot outside in any of the five boroughs until at least Saturday. That means no shots of Liz Lemon outside "30 Rock."

"The city has not issued any location permits this week, so probably the earliest we'll be able to shoot is this weekend," said Warren Leight, executive producer of "Law & Order: SVU." "We are able to do some location scouting tomorrow and we have our production meetings by phone, with people on their cells and calling from their cars. The main issue is going to be getting power restored."


* According to Slate.com,  

Taylor Swift's new album "Red" sold 1.2 million copies in its first week, becoming the first album to reach that number since Eminem's "The Eminem Show" sold 1.3 million copies in 2002.

It's kind of official: Lady Gaga, Katy Perry and Pink may all rock (and Pink's new CD "The Truth About Love" is great), but Swift is the biggest female pop star in America.

- Daily News wire services

contributed to this report.

Email gensleh@phillynews.com.

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