It’s a question that must plague all celebrities: Where’s the best place to be famous and act like an ass? Yesterday’s news that smack-happy singer Pete Doherty has been fined a mere $1,422 for smacking — well, kicking — a female BBC reporter suggests the answer might be London. But what of our fair city? Don’t celebs love New York, too? Well, if they’re being strategic, maybe not. Last year, Russell Crowe had to pay a six-figure settlement for assaulting a Hotel Mercer clerk with phone. That’s not only a lot more than Doherty’s paying, but it’s also a lot more than the $4,500 Alec Baldwin paid — admittedly in 1995 dollars — for punching a photographer who took a picture of Kim Basinger, his 1995 wife, in Los Angeles; a lot more than the $5,500 Axl Rose was fined for the inventively depraved act of biting a Swedish security guard; and presumably more than the undisclosed sum Naomi Campbell paid, in addition to taking anger-management classes, after attacking her assistant with a cell phone in Toronto. The good news is that New York does seem to remain the best place to be a lecherous but not actually violent celeb, as Christian Slater leared in 2004 when he groped the ass of a random woman on an Upper West Side sidewalk. His punishment: three days of community service.
— Ben Mathis-Lilley