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Fred Willard was arrested Wednesday night when he was allegedly caught masturbating in a Los Angeles adult movie theater. Shortly after reports of the incident broke, he was fired from his PBS job as a narrator for Market Warriors. However, his lawyer has denied the charges and Willard himself has said that it “didn’t happen.”
Willard was arrested by undercover LAPD officers at the Tiki Theater, where he was allegedly found with his pants down and genitals exposed. He was reportedly “cooperative” with police, and was booked and released a short time later. Officers charged him with “engaging in a lewd act.”
After the story broke, The New York Times reported that Willard was fired by PBS. He was supposed to be hosting the Antique Roadshow spin-off Market Watch, which premiered on Monday. However, WGBH Boston spokeswoman Jeanne Hopkins told the media Thursday, “Given the unfortunate news reported today, effective immediately, Fred Willard no longer will be involved with the Market Warriors series.”
Willard is being replaced Antique Roadshow host Mark Wahlberg, who will re-record Willard’s narration.
The Anchorman actor’s lawyer, Paul Takakjian, has defended his client, saying that he did nothing wrong. “With all due respect to the individual officer, our belief [is] that Fred did nothing in any violation of any law. We will be working vigorously to clear his name in this matter,” Takajian’s statement read.
Willard himself told a TMZ cameraman that it “didn’t happen” and that it had nothing to do with his upcoming film, The Yank. The site caught the actor as he left his lawyer’s office and said that the police have “a difference of opinion” and that “a strange situation” led him to the theater. “It's all being straightened out,” he added.