This is more dramatic than apparently not recognizing Alan Alda: Richard Belzer, the comic and Homicide and Law & Order: Special Victims Unit actor, was hit with a harassment complaint from an UWS Apple Store staffer yesterday. [UPDATE BELOW: And now he's explaining his side.]
According to the Post, an employee asked Belzer if he needed help. The Post's source said, "He believed she knew who he was and he put his hands on her shoulders and said, 'Thank God you're here.' She didn't know who he was." However, the Daily News reports, "Milan Agnew, 21, of Manhattan, claimed Belzer, 65, entered the upper West Side store yesterday, grabbed her by the shoulders, shook her, choked her and barked, 'I need help!'"
Agnew called 911, and when the police came, they decided not charge him with a crime (the Post: the cops reviewed the videotape; the News: source says Belzer told cops he was "just joking"). Agnew's grandmother tells the News, "She told me, 'Nana, he didn't just touch me, he choked me and really scared me.' My granddaughter is petite, just 5-feet-2 and she's a dancer so she doesn't have much body to her. Where does this man come off putting his hands on her?"
Further, the News' witnesses claim that Belzer "was clad in black and walked into and out of the store three times after pacing up and down the block." One said, "If it was one of us, we'd be locked up right now." Agnew filed a report of harassment and may be able to pursue it in civil court.
UPDATE: From TMZ: "Belzer tells TMZ the drama all started while he was waiting in line at the Apple store in Manhattan. He says a female employee approached him and asked him if he needed help ... so he placed his hands on her shoulders and said he would love some help." He also mentioned the surveillance tape and how cops decided not to press charges, "Perhaps I shouldn't have invaded her space, but it was clearly non-threatening."