Brad Pitt Is Reportedly Under Investigation for Child Abuse

Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt. Photo: Kevin Winter/Getty Images

TMZ reported early this morning that Brad Pitt “is under investigation by the LAPD and L.A. County Dept. of Children and Family Services for allegedly getting verbally abusive and physical with his children.” The alleged incident occurred last Wednesday on his family’s private plane, and according to TMZ, it propelled Angelina Jolie to file for divorce.

TMZ describes the alleged incident this way:

Sources familiar with the situation tell us, Brad, Angelina, and their kids were on a flight last Wednesday when he allegedly got wasted on the private jet. He allegedly went wild, screaming and getting physical with the kids. We’re told the plane landed at an airport around 8 p.m., and witnesses say Pitt continued his rant on the tarmac, and even tried leaving in one of the fuel trucks.

TMZ’s source says that someone on the tarmac at the time anonymously reported the incident to the Los Angeles County Department of Children and Family Services. Brad and Angelina have interviewed with the DCFS, per TMZ.

People has published a similar report this morning confirming the facts of the case.

Angelina filed for divorce on Monday, and on Tuesday, Us Weekly — the one tabloid to correctly predict the divorce — published a source who asserted that a specific “incident” drove Angelina to file. Us Weekly noted that the incident “affected the entire family.” TMZ reported on Tuesday that Angelina filed for divorce because she was “extremely upset with [Brad’s parenting] methods” and was “‘fed up’ with Brad’s consumption of weed and possibly alcohol … mixed with what she believes is ‘an anger problem.’”

A source “close to Brad” released an identical statement to TMZ and People about the alleged plane incident. “He takes the matter very seriously and says he did not commit any abuse of his children,” the source said. “It’s unfortunate that people involved are continuing to present him in the worst possible light.”

Update, 10:36 a.m.: The public information officer at the LAPD tells US Weekly that the police department is not “handling any report or allegations into child abuse for Mr. Brad Pitt.” The officer added, “We don’t have anything on Brad Pitt right now. We have confirmed with the detectives, and according to our detectives there are no active investigations regarding Brad Pitt.” The officer did not say if the department ever investigated the alleged child abuse incident. According to TMZ and People, the Department of Children and Family Services’ investigation is ongoing.

Update, 11:51 a.m.: People is now clarifying that the DCFS is investigating Brad Pitt for child abuse, but the LAPD is not.

Update, 1:02 p.m.: TMZ reports that the child abuse allegations against Brad Pitt have been referred to the FBI. This explains why the LAPD has said that it is not actively investigating the allegations. According to TMZ, after an anonymous person reported the alleged abuse incident to the DCFS, the department “followed protocol and notified the LAPD. Law enforcement sources say the LAPD’s Abused Child Unit (ACU) got the report, but determined that the Department did not have jurisdiction because the alleged incident occurred in the air, on a flight from France to the U.S.” So the LAPD then “closed its file and referred the matter to the FBI.”

Brad has yet to issue an official statement on the allegations.