Theatergoer praised as hero for smashing woman's cellphone

National Review writer Kevin Williamson says a woman's incessant use of her cellphone during a live theater performance drove him over the edge.

Annoying cellphone users beware: Don't mess with Kevin Williamson.

The National Review writer is being hailed on the Web as a mini-hero after he exacted vengeance on an annoying theatergoer who wouldn't stop using her cellphone during a live performance.

His final act: He snatched the phone from the theatergoer's hands and threw it across the theater.

"Theater Night: Vigilantes 1, Vulgarians 0," Williamson wrote in a National Review column the day after the incident.

HUSH HUSH

Williamson was in attendance at Tuesday night's performance of "Natasha, Pierre, and the Great Comet of 1812," a critically acclaimed, cabaret-style musical loosely based on a section of Leo Tolstoy's "War and Peace." The play is performed inside a huge carnival tent erected next to the Standard High Line, a luxury boutique hotel in the heart of downtown Manhattan's trendy meatpacking district. Theatergoers sit at tables clustered throughout the room.

Williamson said he was thoroughly enjoying the play but was bothered by some members of the audience sitting near him who insisted on talking and using their cellphones during the performance.

According to Williamson:

"It was bad enough that I seriously considered leaving during the intermission, something I’ve not done before. The main offenders were two parties of women of a certain age, the sad sort with too much makeup and too-high heels, and insufficient attention span for following a two-hour musical."

He said his date spoke with theater management during intermission, but the situation wasn't remedied when the play resumed:

"The lady seated to my immediate right (very close quarters on bench seating) was fairly insistent about using her phone. I asked her to turn it off. She answered: 'So don’t look.' I asked her whether I had missed something during the very pointed announcements to please turn off your phones, perhaps a special exemption granted for her. She suggested that I should mind my own business."

THE CONFRONTATION

That got Williamson's blood boiling. He said he proceeded to use "my famously feline agility" to snatch the phone from the woman's hands and toss it across the room, "where it would do no more damage."

Williamson said the woman slapped him before storming off to notify management.

Williamson told Gothamist the show's security director confronted him and said the woman was talking about pursuing criminal charges.

"He did try to physically keep me in, and was standing in the door blocking me, telling me I couldn't leave. I inquired as to whether he was a police officer and I was under arrest, and since I wasn't, I left," Williamson told Gothamist.

Asked if the woman's phone was damaged, Williamson said, "It had to be; I threw it a pretty good distance."

HIGH PRAISE

Williamson's antics earned him praise from several people across the Web.

Gothamist, on its website, awarded him a "Certificate of Commendation" for "exemplary protection of theaters from annoying attendants."

Daily Beast blogger Justin Green chimed in: "I wish everyone reacted to impolite cell phone usage like Kevin Williamson."

On Twitter, one man remarked: "This man did what the rest of us mere mortals only dream of."

"There's no other way for me to say this: I love you. You are my hero," another tweeted.

Not everyone was impressed:

"@KevinNR sounds like a douche. He expects commendations for his childish behavior, too. And he is receiving praise," one person tweeted.

Williamson took all the praise in stride, writing:

"In a civilized world, I would have received a commendation of some sort. To the theater-going public of New York — nay, the world — I say: "You’re welcome."

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