Gene Hackman: Loose cannon or knight in shining armor?
The 82-year-old Oscar winner admitted to slapping a homeless man across the face this afternoon, saying the guy approached him and his wife, Betsy, in a menacing manner and called Betsy a derogatory name, Santa Fe, N.M., police confirm to E! News.
Sgt. Andrea Dobyns told E! that the man on the receiving end of the slap called authorities at around 1:30 p.m. to report that he had been beaten up by Gene Hackman.
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Officers who responded were able to talk to both the caller and Hackman, who was still in the area after eating at a nearby restaurant.
The "Unforgiven" star told police that the man approached him and Betsy in a very aggressive manner, called his wife a nasty name (TMZ hears it was the C-word) and otherwise made them fear for their saftey.
The man got into his face, according to Hackman, and he hit him, "more like a slap than a punch," Dobyns said.
The guy had no visible injuries and no one was arrested or cited for the altercation.
"It looked like Mr. Hackman did this purely out of self-defense to protect himself and his wife," said Dobyns.
--Reporting by Holly Passalaqua