A source tells ET that the altercation between Tom Arnold and reality TV producer Mark Burnett at a pre-Emmys party on Sunday night was a "publicity stunt" on Arnold's part.
The source, who witnessed the incident between Arnold and Burnett, tells ET that Arnold "ambushed" Burnett and his wife, Roma Downey.
"They feel very set up," the source says. "They were basically ambushed. [Tom] got exactly what he wanted or intended to get because he's all over the news."
On Sunday night, Arnold and Burnett both attended the “Evening Before” party in Century City benefiting MPTF (Motion Picture & Television Fund). Arnold later claimed Burnett choked him. A spokesperson for the LAPD confirmed to ET on Monday that a report for battery was made by Arnold against Burnett.
"Mark Burnett just went apes**t & choked me at this huge Emmy party then he ran away with his torn pink shirt & missing gold chain. I’m waiting for LAPD,” the 59-year-old actor tweeted on Sunday night.
Soon after, Arnold’s pal Patton Oswalt tweeted a photo of them together along with this caption: “I’m with @TomArnold, everyone. He’s okay. We gotta protect this brutal angel.”
Arnold hinted at possibly confronting Burnett at the Emmys in a recent interview. The actor has a new Viceland show called The Hunt for the Trump Tapes with Tom Arnold, which chronicles his quest to uncover the potentially damaging tapes of the now-president during his Apprentice days. Burnett was the executive producer of Trump’s hit reality show.
“They’re really worried about me being anywhere near him,” Arnold told Salon.com. “I’m like, ‘What about the country guys?' I’m definitely going to do something at the Emmys.”
The source claims to ET that Arnold had a camera crew in tow on Sunday night and allegedly heard the cameraman say, "Oh good, I got it all." The source further claims that "Tom goes right up to Mark and pulls on his shirt, rips it, and then pulled off Mark's crucifix," adding that Survivor host Jeff Probst separated the men.
"Roma and Mark were innocent bystanders," the source adds.
After the altercation, Downey tweeted out a photo of her bruised hand, writing, “Got this bruise tonight when Tom Arnold tried to ambush my husband Mark and me at a charity event. Is your TV show worth it Tom? Please stop.”
Arnold was quick to respond.
“Bullsh*t. You lie your crazy husband attacked me you psycho," he tweeted. "I’m filing police report & suing you for defamation. Roma knocked [director] Bryan Fogel’s phone out of his hand after Mark Burnett chocked me. Bryan came with me. He won the Oscar this year for his amazing documentary Icarus. He has tape.”
According to Deadline, Arnold told people in attendance that tape of Trump on his reality show had been "handed over to Ronan Farrow." Farrow won the Pulitzer this year for his reporting on the #MeToo movement, including the allegations against Harvey Weinstein.
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