The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Crowe learns to crow

Canberra, Nov. 28 (AP): Oscar-winning actor Russell Crowe has shown he can now laugh about throwing a telephone at a Manhattan hotel concierge.

Hosting Australia’s version of the Oscars, the Australian Film Industry Awards, in the southern city of Melbourne on Saturday night, the volatile actor walked on stage carrying a chunky, old-fashioned, Bakelite telephone.

“If there are any problems and you do get up here and go on too long,” Crowe warned nominees in the audience before indicating the phone, “Then ‘hello’ to my little friend.”

The 41-year-old New Zealand-born Australia-based actor pleaded guilty earlier this month to third-degree assault, admitting to a judge that he threw a phone that hit a concierge in June.

A Manhattan criminal court sentenced the actor to a conditional discharge, which means he must not get arrested for one year.

Last week, Crowe berated reporters at a press conference in Melbourne for blowing the phone-throwing incident out of proportion.

Had Crowe been convicted of the more serious charges initially filed against him ' assault and criminal possession of a weapon, the telephone ' he could have lost his right to work in the US and might have faced seven years of prison time.

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