Sean Penn's 19-year-old son, Hopper Penn, got into a nasty altercation with a paparazzo this week, dropping N-bombs and gay slurs at the African-American photographer, according to TMZ.

Footage shows Hopper following his father into a medical building in Beverly Hills, then pushing the unidentified paparazzo, who was taking his picture, and calling the man a pejorative usually aimed at gays and another usually aimed at African-Americans.

Sounds like Dad needs to take Hopper on one of his humanitarian trips to Haiti.

The photographer was definitely taken aback by Hopper pushing him, and can be heard shouting, "Don't you ever do that. You're a kid."

"What?! That's the kind of talk you're teaching him, Sean. Huh?" the photographer called out.

Right. You'd think the kid would be influenced by his father's history of calm, rational behavior in similar situations.

Law enforcement sources told TMZ that police nearby asked what happened, but the photographer brushed off the incident as a verbal disagreement and said he didn't want anyone charged.

Hopper later told TMZ he "deeply" regretted his choice of words, but that the paparazzo made him "feel like an animal -- threatened and under attack, but that does not condone my own actions."

Really? An animal?


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As you know, Sean Penn has no love for photographers. In 1987, the actor was sentenced to 60 days in jail (and served 33) for assaulting a photographer on a film. Penn also pleaded no contest to vandalism, (while a battery charge was dropped) after he kicked a paparazzo in 2010 and was sentenced to three years probation.

BIEBER ALLEGEDLY SPAT IN NEIGHBOR'S FACE: Justin Bieber spit in his neighbor's face and threatened to kill him, after the man had the gall to tell the 19-year-old he was driving recklessly.

Ever get the idea that Justin Bieber may feel a bit entitled?

Law enforcement and neighbors told TMZ that Bieber hocked one in the man's face during a heated confrontation Tuesday morning. Bieber's Ferrari had arrived on a flatbed truck at around 8 a.m. and Boy Wonder decided to take it for a spin in the gated community. A number of neighbors told the website Bieber was driving insanely fast, with one saying he hit speeds of up to 100 mph.

I know that's illegal for the rest of us, but am still waiting to hear from the legal team as to whether it's illegal for Justin Bieber.

The supposed victim -- a 47-year-old businessman and father of three -- went onto Bieber's Calabasas property and supposedly yelled, "You can't drive like this!"

The man told deputies Bieber responded by saying, "Get the (expletive) out of here," and then spit in the guy's face and said, "I'm gonna (expletive) kill you."

I can't tell you how hard most grown men would laugh if 105-pound Justin Bieber -- who may or may not have actually hit puberty yet -- said that to them.

The man filed a battery report and reportedly isn't ready to back down.

Sources connected to Bieber's security team told TMZ there was no physical contact between the singer and the neighbor. Talk about skating by on a technicality.

NBC REPORTEDLY APPROACHED ANDERSON COOPER: NBC has reportedly approached Anderson Cooper to replace Matt Lauer on the "Today" show by the end of the year, according to Deadline.com.

The story gets a bit weird, however. Apparently, NBC reportedly asked Lauer for his blessing while courting Cooper. Instead, Lauer reportedly called Cooper to voice his discontent, which caught Cooper by surprise because he thought NBC was working with Lauer to make his possible hiring work.

This is worse than a soap opera. When does the evil twin separated at birth get a job interview?

Cooper is under contract with CNN, but has an out allowing him to work on CBS' "60 Minutes" and host his daytime talk show. Lauer signed a $25 million a year deal last year that will keep him on "Today" for at least another year.

NBC executives have supposedly not denied approaching Cooper, but said he will not be replacing Lauer. "As we've said before, Matt Lauer is the best in the business. We want him in the 'Today' show anchor chair for many years to come," Alexandra Wallace, NBC News' senior vice president, told THR.

Of course they do.

On Sunday, New York magazine released a story that Lauer considered going to ABC not so long ago. Before that, Lauer told the Daily Beast he thought NBC mishandled his former "Today" co-host Ann Curry's firing.

It's also been rumored that "Jeopardy" has approached Lauer about taking over as host when Alex Trebek retires.

DAVID LETTERMAN BANNED 'SPRING BREAKERS' DIRECTOR: David Letterman banned director Harmony Korine from his show after allegedly finding him rifling through Meryl Streep's purse during a guest appearance in 1999, according to WENN.

James Franco appeared on "The Late Show With David Letterman" on Monday to promote his new movie "Spring Breakers," and conversation quickly turned to Korine, who directed the film.

Defending the director, Franco said, "He's great person to work with, but I think he had a period where he was going a little off the rails ... The legend is that he pushed Meryl Streep backstage. I mean if you push Meryl Streep backstage you get kicked off. But he said he was a little out of it, so maybe he was on something that night."

But Letterman told a different story. "I went upstairs to (the green room to) greet Meryl Streep and say welcome to the show, and I looked around, and she was not in there, and I found your friend Harmony going through her purse. True story. And so I said, 'That's it, put her things back in her bag and then get out of here.'"

That doesn't sound very harmonious.

Franco was surprised by Letterman's revelation. He then suggested they settle their differences, since Korine is supposedly a much different person now. "He didn't tell me that, but he's a good guy now you should bring him back on. I vouch for him."

Oh, well, there you have it. Case closed.

HAYDEN PANETTIERE MAY BE ENGAGED: Hayden Panettiere and boxer Wladimir Klitschko are not only back together, but are engaged, according to Us Weekly.

The "Nashville" star, who reconciled with her Ukrainian ex-boyfriend in January, is now supposedly planning their wedding.

"Very few people know, and she isn't wearing her ring publicly yet," said a friend of the couple, who split in May 2011 after two years together.

Despite being seen acting affectionately with one another in public in recent weeks, the 23-year-old actress and the 37-year-old fighter have not publicly confirmed their relationship. Panettiere said they were "just good buddies" in mid-January.

So that's what the kids call it these days.

Privately, however, the pair are supposedly eager to legalize their match. The source said "Looks like a summer wedding!"

That's very exciting. I'd better start looking for something to wear.

Panettiere previously dated "Heroes" co-star Milo Ventimiglia and "One Tree Hill" star Stephen Colletti, but the actress told Us Weekly in 2011 that she prefers dating athletes.

"They're in similar circles, where they understand the schedule, the work ethic, the social aspect," she said, "but they're not exactly in your industry, so it works out well."

Contact Tony Hicks at Facebook.com/BayAreaNewsGroup.TonyHicks or Twitter.com/insertfoot.

MARCH 28 IN HISTORY

Thursday is March 28, the 87th day of 2013. There are 278 days left in the year.

1834: The U.S. Senate voted to censure President Andrew Jackson for the removal of federal deposits from the Bank of the United States.

1854: During the Crimean War, Britain and France declared war on Russia.

1898: The Supreme Court, in United States v. Wong Kim Ark, ruled that a child born in the United States to Chinese immigrants was a U.S. citizen.

1930: The names of the Turkish cities of Constantinople and Angora were changed to Istanbul and Ankara.

1935: The notorious Nazi propaganda film "Triumph des Willens" (Triumph of the Will), directed by Leni Riefenstahl, premiered in Berlin with Adolf Hitler present.

1939: The Spanish Civil War effectively ended as Madrid fell to the forces of Francisco Franco.

1941: Novelist and critic Virginia Woolf, 59, drowned herself near her home in Lewes, East Sussex, England.

1943: Composer Sergei Rachmaninoff died in Beverly Hills, Calif.

1963: The Alfred Hitchcock film "The Birds" premiered in New York.

1969: The 34th president of the United States, Dwight D. Eisenhower, died in Washington D.C. at age 78.

1978: In Stump v. Sparkman, the U.S. Supreme Court upheld, 5-3, the judicial immunity of an Indiana judge against a lawsuit brought by a young woman who'd been ordered sterilized by the judge when she was a teenager.

1979: America's worst commercial nuclear accident occurred inside the Unit 2 reactor at the Three Mile Island plant near Middletown, Pa.

1990: President George H.W. Bush presented the Congressional Gold Medal to the widow of U.S. Olympic legend Jesse Owens.

2003: American-led forces in Iraq dropped thousand-pound bombs on Republican Guard units guarding the gates to Baghdad and battled for control of the strategic city of Nasiriyah. President George W. Bush warned of "further sacrifice" ahead in the face of unexpectedly fierce fighting. Japan launched its first spy satellites to monitor communist neighbor North Korea's missile development and suspected nuclear weapons programs.

2008: President George W. Bush declared that Iraq was standing at a defining moment as it struggled to put down heavily armed Shiite militias in new flare-ups of violence. Cuba made it legal for its citizens to own cell phones in their own names.

2012: The U.S. Supreme Court wrapped up three days of public arguments on President Barack Obama's historic health care law. Bluegrass legend and banjo pioneer Earl Scruggs, 88, died in Nashville, Tennessee.

BIRTHDAYS

Actor Ken Howard (69), actress Dianne Wiest (65), country singer Reba McEntire (58), Olympic gold medal gymnast Bart Conner (55), rapper Salt (Salt-N-Pepa) (47), director Brett Ratner (44), actor Vince Vaughn (43), actress Julia Stiles (32), singer Lady Gaga (27).

-- Associated Press