James Franco has been sued by a photographer who alleges that the actor head-butted him in the stomach during a 2004 Lana Del Rey concert.

David Tonnessen says he was photographing the singer during her Hollywood Forever Cemetery show in 2014 when Franco charged over and head-butted him.


The star, who will next appear in gay porn murder drama King Cobra, was reportedly “smiling, rather demonically” before knocking Tonnessen down with a “blank expression of joy on his face.”

Tonnessen says that Franco left him wounded on the ground with injuries that required hospitalisation, and he suffered “severe and permanent physical and psychological injuries.”

The photographer is suing Franco for assault, battery, and intentional infliction of emotional distress, and asking for medical expenses and other damages.

Neither Franco nor his reps have made any comment on the suit.

His latest film, King Cobra, chronicles the real-life murder of gay porn producer Bryan Kocis. Director Justin Kelly has denied that Franco is “gay-baiting” by taking on this and similar roles as gay characters.

King Cobra had its UK premiere this month at the BFI London Film Festival, and although it was picked up by IFC Films, it doesn’t yet have a wider release date.