The Department of Children and Family Services in Los Angeles County is conducting an inquiry into allegations that Brad Pitt was involved in an incident with a child aboard a private plane flying from Europe to L.A., NBC News reports. Earlier, Armand Montiel, DCFS Public Affairs Director, had told E! News the law does not allow the department to confirm or deny subjects of its investigations. A spokesperson for the LAPD told E! News police are not investigating allegations of child abuse.
Meanwhile, the FBI released the following statement this evening: "In response to your inquiry regarding allegations within the special aircraft jurisdiction of the United States; specifically, an aircraft carrying Mr. Brad Pitt and his children, the FBI is continuing to gather facts and will evaluate whether an investigation at the federal level will be pursued."
TMZ and People first reported Pitt was under investigation over the incident, which allegedly occurred Sept. 14. Angelina Jolie separated from Pitt, her husband of two years, on Sept. 15, according to court documents obtained by E! News. The actress filed for divorce on Sept. 19.
According to TMZ, Pitt allegedly "got wasted" on the plane and "went wild, screaming and getting physical with the kids." People claimed the actor got "verbally abusive" and "physical." The plane landed at an airport around 8 p.m., per TMZ, and witnesses said the actor "continued his rant on the tarmac." An anonymous person reported the incident, sources told both outlets.
Reps for the actors have not commented on the reports. Pitt "takes the matter very seriously and says he did not commit any abuse of his children," a source close to the actor said. "It's unfortunate that people involved are continuing to present him in the worst possible light."
Similarly, a source close to the investigation told E! News Pitt is taking this seriously and "cooperating fully." He "will continue to do what's in the best interest of the children," the source said, adding that he's "a good father. He is doing what he can to protect his children."
As his divorce plays out in the public eye, Pitt "doesn't want to go negative and has no plans to," the source added. "He is very respectful of Angelina as a mother." The actors, who met on the set of Mr. and Mrs. Smith and later became an item, are both focused on the well-being of their kids. "Brad is most concerned about his children and the best thing for them is to keep the situation private," the source explained. "That is what he has tried to do from the beginning."
Jolie, 41, requested sole physical custody of their six children—Maddox Jolie-Pitt, 15, Pax Jolie-Pitt, 12, Zahara Jolie-Pitt, 11, Shiloh Jolie-Pitt, 10, and twins Knox Jolie-Pitt and Vivienne Jolie-Pitt, 8. The By the Sea director cited "irreconcilable differences" as the reason for the split.
"Brad did not want the marriage to end," a source told E! News Sept. 21. Furthermore, the Allied actor, 52, "was committed to doing what he needed to make it work. He was open to counseling."
Another insider added, "He is emotionally torn. Right now, he is devastated. He still loved Angelina and would have preferred they fight to make the marriage work. He was willing to do whatever it took to save the marriage and didn't realize Angelina had already given up on it."
After Jolie filed for divorce, things were fraught. But, a source told E! News, "Both sides are in a better place. There is a commitment from both sides to look out for and protect the children. They are both determined to protect the kids and find the best way to resolve this situation."
"I am very saddened by this, but what matters most now is the well-being of our kids," Pitt told E! News in a statement Sept. 20, hours after news of his divorce made international headlines. "I kindly ask the press to give them the space they deserve during this challenging time."
(Originally published on Thursday, Sept. 22, 2016, at 4:55 a.m. PDT.)