Lara Bingle and Sam Worthington are under real heat for their scuffle with New York photographer Sheng Li last February. They’re being warned to settle a $10 million USD for the paparazzo’s injuries, or risk the case becoming even more of a public ordeal which could be damaging to their careers.
AAP reports (via SBS) both Sam and Lara’s legal teams will be meeting with Li’s lawyer, Mark Heller, in Manhattan this Wednesday for a settlement conference. Heller has suggested the Australian power couple accept the offer or pay the consequences. “If Mr Worthington and Ms Bingle were smart, they’d settle it because otherwise this case will become a real spectacle,” Heller told AAP on Monday.
Heller also had a little prediction for the movie star and model’s future should they refuse the settlement, saying, “I think it’s clear society now doesn’t like the abusive conduct by celebrities.” He added, “A number of athletes recently lost their jobs when videos of them assaulting people went viral, so if this man wants to sell any movies, I would think he would try to resolve this in a proper and honourable way.”
Li claims, as a result of the scuffle, he had to undergo surgery last month to repair torn tendons on his rotator cuff, which may impact his career as a photographer, and was “psychologically damaged” by the experience. “He is very fearful to go out into this environment again where these celebrities are so abusive,” Heller told AAP. On the other hand, Sam’s lawyers, Michael Bono and Brian Gibbons, have argued that Li voluntarily put himself in the position and was aware of the “inherent risks”.
We’ll have to wait until Wednesday to see if Li walks out of this debacle a millionaire, and even longer to see if Sam and Lara score any jobs in the aftermath. Until then you can watch the footage for yourself below, if you can take your eyes off Lara’s dreamy leather backpack.