Gene Hackman is not the guy you want to go around insulting his wife. Just hours ago, the actor and Betsy Arakawa, his spouse, were involved in an incident that ended with the actor slapping a homeless man.
The incident took place in Santa Fe, as the couple were leaving a restaurant after dinner.
The homeless man reportedly approached Gene and Betsy “menacingly,” and then proceeded to insult Betsy, the New York Daily News notes.
The homeless man has been identified as 63-year-old Bruce Becker. According to various reports, he called the actor’s wife a “[C-word],” which is when Hackman reacted and slapped him.
Becker called the police and reported the incident shortly afterwards, claiming the star had “punched” him.
“Our officers got a call from a homeless male who said he’s just been beat up by Gene Hackman. This male got up in his face, assaulted him,” Sgt. Andrea Dobyns is quoted as saying.
Dobyns notes that Hackman acted in self-defense, thinking only of his and his wife’s safety when he resorted to violence.
“Mr. Hackman did slap the homeless male across the face. This homeless male actually assaulted him and his wife, put him in fear for his life and his wife’s life,” Dobyns explains, adding that the gesture was “more like a slap than a punch.”
Even so, even if Hackman acted in self-defense, not few are those who are criticizing him online, saying his rash gesture is unpardonable, no matter the circumstances.
You should never turn to violence in such situations, they believe.
At the same time, most see in Hackman’s slap a chivalrous gesture: he thought either he or his wife were in immediate danger, so he wasted no time in neutralizing the threat – in this case, the homeless man who, as it happens, also has a long history of run-ins with the law.