Red-carpet menace Vitalii Sediuk has confirmed to The Hollywood Reporter that he was the bearded man who lifted Gigi Hadid off the ground following a fashion show in Milan on Thursday.
Moments before the violation, the Ukraine-born troublemaker - whose past victims include Vogue editor Anna Wintour and Brad Pitt at the 2014 Hollywood premiere of Maleficent - brazenly snapped a selfie with Carine Roitfeld, former editor of Vogue Paris and Hadid's mentor and close friend.
He also took a selfie with Wintour, who notices the camera in the corner of her eye as she holds a gold smart phone to her ear. "Anna be like: 'Is it him?? Vitalii, is it you?? Again? Encore!!!' But I'm nice to Anna this time," Sediuk captioned the photo on Instagram.
But it was the Hadid ambush that is grabbing headlines - a prank that, even for Sediuk, who once crawled beneath America Ferrera's dress at Cannes, was more aggressive and unsettling than usual.
As captured on video, Sediuk can be seen approaching the 21-year-old, Los Angeles-born supermodel from behind, then wrapping both arms around her waist and firmly clasping his hands together. He then lifts her several feet off the ground.
Hadid responds by thrusting her elbow in Sediuk's face. After Sediuk releases her, Hadid chases him down the street, shouting, "Who the f - are you, you piece of shit?!" Security was slow to respond.
In a statement issued exclusively to THR, Sediuk - who has been living in Europe since being ordered out of the U.S. following the Pitt incident - explains the motives behind the assault.
"While I consider Gigi Hadid beautiful, she and her friend Kendall Jenner have nothing to do with high fashion. By doing this, I encourage the fashion industry to put true talents on the runway and Vogue covers instead of well-connected cute girls from Instagram," Sediuk says.
"You can call it a manifest or a protest. This is also a wake-up call for Anna Wintour, who turned Vogue into a tabloid by putting Kardashians and other similar celebrities on a cover of a well respected magazine," he adds.
Asked how he responds to allegations that his latest "stunt" amounts to nothing more than an assault on a woman, Sediuk responds, "Don't be over-dramatic."
#carineroitfeld #gigihadid #mfw
A photo posted by Vitalii Sediuk (@vitaliisediuk) on Sep 22, 2016 at 1:43am PDT
Anna be like: "Is it him?? Vitalii, is it you?? Again? Encore!!! But I'm nice to Anna this time ☺️ #cavalli #milano #annawintour #mfw
A photo posted by Vitalii Sediuk (@vitaliisediuk) on Sep 22, 2016 at 1:33am PDT
Crazy mess in the streets of Milan..even ambulance was blocked due to "so important" celebrities