During a routine walk-through of the Tiki Theater (an adult movie theater) in Los Angeles, police purportedly spotted Willard engaging in lewd conduct. Willard was then arrested, booked for lewd conduct and released from police custody.
Sound straightforward? It turns out the situation is not — California’s lewd conduct law says that such acts are only illegal if committed in the presence of others who are offended. Since Willard was in an adult movie theater at the time and police were not called to the scene because of his behavior, it is extremely unlikely the other theater patrons found Willard’s actions distasteful…or that they would come forward and say they did, given their presence in the theater would then become public knowledge.
It looks like Willard’s legal defense intends to use this argument to build a case to have the charges against Willard dismissed. In fact, TMZ actually quotes Willard’s lawyer as saying Willard “did nothing in any violation of any law.” Props to him if he does (and to any other criminal lawyers out there who have successfully navigated cases where legal technicalities play a big role.)
Willard was fired from PBS on Thursday, where he works on the show Market Warriors, but who knows whether his termination will stick given the argument that he did not actually break California’s lewd conduct law.
Unsure who Fred Willard is? Check out the 78-year-old actor’s performances in Best in Show, For Your Consideration, American Wedding, Anchorman or one of his many other movies.