The FBI is confirming that it is looking into an allegation of child abuse by actor Brad Pitt aboard a charter flight from France.
An FBI spokeswoman said the agency hasn’t determined if a full-fledged investigation is warranted.
“In response to your inquiry regarding allegations within the special aircraft jurisdiction of the United States; specifically, an aircraft carrying Mr. Brad Pitt and his children, the FBI is continuing to gather facts and will evaluate whether an investigation at the federal level will be pursued,” according to a statement released by Laura Eimiller of the FBI’s Los Angeles Field Office.
However, an entertainment TV show and website reported a source close to Pitt denied anything of significance had taken place.
TMZ quoted the source as saying Pitt “takes the matter very seriously and says he did not commit any abuse of his children.”
“It’s unfortunate that people involved are continuing to present him in the worst possible light,” the source said.
News media inquiries into the allegations swirled in the Hollywood film community that Pitt, whose wife Angelina Jolie recently filed for divorce, was under investigation for allegedly abusing one or more of their children.
TMZ cited a source as saying the incident may have led to the divorce action.
TMZ had reported that Pitt was under investigation by the Los Angeles Police Department and the Los Angeles County Department of Children and Family Services “for allegedly getting verbally abusive and physical with his children, and that’s what triggered the divorce.”
However, an LAPD spokeswoman denied that report, saying the department was not investigating Pitt.
“LAPD is not handling any reports or allegations of child abuse against Mr. Brad Pitt,” LAPD spokeswoman Jenny Houser said Thursday.
According to TMZ, “sources familiar with the situation tell us Brad, Angelina and their kids were on a flight last Wednesday when he allegedly got wasted on the private jet. He allegedly went wild, screaming and getting physical with the kids.”
TMZ said the plane landed at an undisclosed airport about 8 p.m. Sept. 14, “and witnesses say Pitt continued his rant on the tarmac, and even tried leaving in one of the fuel trucks.”
“Our sources say someone either on the plane or the tarmac anonymously reported the incident to the L.A. County Department of Children and Family Services. We’re told Brad and Angelina have already been interviewed and DCFS plans to interview the kids as well. That investigation is ongoing,” TMZ reported.
“We’re also told the LAPD has the case … which is routine when anyone reports child abuse. We do not know the specifics of the alleged abuse … just that it was supposedly both verbal and physical,” TMZ said.
“Our sources say this incident triggered Jolie to separate from Brad the next day and file for divorce just days later,” according to TMZ.
A spokesman for the county’s Children and Family Services department said he could not confirm or deny that the agency was involved in any investigation, citing confidentiality laws.
The Daily Mail, also citing an unnamed source close to Pitt, said the actor clashed with his teen son during the flight.
The source called the allegations “exaggerated or fabricated” and said Pitt never touched the boy.
—Staff and wire reports