- Olivia Wilde was served custody papers at CinemaCon as she went onstage to present her recent film.
- A process server defended the woman who served Wilde.
- He shared what he had to do in the past to serve celebrities.
Delegates at CinemaCon were shocked Tuesday when the actor and filmmaker Olivia Wilde was served legal papers during a presentation about her latest movie.
She picked up a manila envelope marked “personal and confidential” after an unidentified woman dropped it on the stage. Wilde asked: “Is this for me?”
A source told The Hollywood Reporter that the documents had been drawn up to “establish jurisdiction” relating to the two children she shares with Jason Sudeikis but that Wilde’s ex-fiancé “would never condone her being served in such an inappropriate manner.”
mike kern, a California process server who is not involved in the case, told Insider the method of the process-service company was justified. He said that his own firm, Direct Legal Support in Los Angeles, often had no choice but to resort to such drastic measures.
“If these people don’t make themselves available, and their manager doesn’t want to help us out, we’re going to do whatever is needed to get them served,” Kern said.
He’s served celebrities and knows how difficult it can be
The 52-year-old, who said he had served documents to celebrities such as Woody Harrelson and the “Girls Gone Wild” creator joe francissaid getting one-on-one access to certain stars could be very difficult.
“They’re rich and live in gated communities or have an estate,” Kern told Insider.
Some people, I have added, “deliberately hide” to avoid being presented with papers when they’re being sued.
Meanwhile, even if he did manage to approach them in person, he said they could refuse to accept the documents, which are commonly summonses or complaints.
“Whether they’re a celebrity or not, I’ve got to people’s doors, and they’ve said: ‘I’m not taking it.’ In that case, you just drop the papers right at their feet,” he said.
It’s not uncommon to serve celebrities in public events
As was the case with Wilde, Kern said he had served papers to boldface names at public events such as music festivals and film premieres.
“You find out they’re going to be on the red carpet or at a book signing,” he said. “If they’re performing at a concert, you get tickets in the front row and serve them by dropping the papers onto the stage.”
He will occasionally invest in premium tickets to sporting events.
“If it’s a sports star, you might get tickets to a Lakers or a San Francisco Giants game,” he said, adding that he once served a football player for the Los Angeles Rams.
He said that in most celebrity cases — which could involve divorce, breach of contract, tax evasion, or a traffic accident — the recipient would be “cooperative.”
“They don’t want it to be broadcast all over social media,” he said. “They’ll try to keep it on the down-low.”
Kern said his company often “stakes out” celebrities and other wealthy people who are hard to pin down, adding: “We’ll sit outside their gates for hours until they do something like go to a coffee shop. Then we’ll serve them there.”
But he said process servers had to observe strict rules set by the state.
“There are a lot of pre-texting laws here in California that can get you into trouble,” he said. “However, in the past, people have used FedEx or UPS uniforms to get people out of the door.”
According to Kern, lawyers pay him and his employees between $80 and “hundreds of dollars” an hour.
“You can charge $100 an hour just to wait in your car,” he said. “But if you’re doing the graveyard shift, between 11 pm and 6 am, the price goes up.”
He said many process servers took home an annual salary in the six figures.
“You can earn that amount of money in your first year,” he added.
Meanwhile, Kern told Insider that he’d been a victim of violence — but not at the hands of a celebrity.
“When I was a lot younger, I turned my back on this guy, and he hit me on the head with a baseball bat,” he said.
As for the woman who served papers to Wilde at CinemaCon in Las Vegas, he maintained that she acted professionally: “She got the job done.”