Actor Fred Willard Busted For Lewd Conduct In An Adult Theater; Fired From Job At PBS
Funnyman Fred Willard was arrested on Wednesday night after undercover police officers reportedly caught him masturbating in an adult movie theater in Hollywood.
Police making a routine walkthrough at the Tiki Theater around 8:45pm Wednesday night caught the star with his pants down and booked him on misdemeanor lewd conduct charges. The 78-year-old Best in Show star we was released shortly after, probably not the type of release he was hoping for on such a night.
Willard has since been fired from his job as a narrator on the PBS series Market Warriors, a spinoff of Antiques Roadshow.
"Given the unfortunate news reported today, effective immediately, Fred Willard no longer will be involved with the Market Warriors series," producers said via a statement.
The actor's lawyer, Paul Takakjian, maintains Willard's innocence through a statement he released to TMZ.com.
"With all due respect to the individual [arresting] officer, our belief is that Fred did nothing in any violation of any law. We will be working vigorously to clear his name in this matter."
The manager of the Tiki Theater, Kazi Jafor, has come to Willard's defense; saying the 72-year-old star didn't do anything wrong.
"Police officers arrested him suspiciously, I did not see anything," he tells E! News.
Jafor says police checks, which are standard when it comes to adult theaters in California, happen at his theater anywhere from three to four times a day to once a week. Jafor also says his business has been affected by the random checks and that nearly 25 people have been arrested.
"Business has gone down," he said. "Customers do not come. They are too nervous to come here."
Willard's arrest comes one week shy of the 21st anniversary of when Pee Wee Herman star Paul Reubens was caught doing the same thing in a Sarasota, Florida adult theater.
According to TMZ - and this is no joke - Willard has signed on to star in a comedy called "The Yank," which is currently in preproduction.
UPDATE: TMZ caught up with Willard while he was on his way to his lawyer's office on Thursday afternoon, and the star, accompanied by his wife, says that it was a misunderstanding (just like Pee Wee Herman said after his arrest). He said there's a "difference of opinion" between him and the police and that he ended up in the theater in the first place due to a "strange situation."
"It's all being straightened out," he says.
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