‘Avatar’ actor appears before NYC judge _lowres

In this Jan. 19, 2012, file photo, Actor Sam Worthington attends the Cinema Society premiere of "Man on a Ledge" in New York. Police say Worthington was arrested Sunday, Feb. 23, 2014, in New York City for punching a photographer after the man kicked Worthington's girlfriend in the shin. The Australian actor was released on a desk appearance ticket. (AP Photo/Peter Kramer, File)

NEW YORK (AP) — Australian actor Sam Worthington has been arraigned on two counts of misdemeanor assault, attempted assault and a count of harassment after being accused of punching a photographer.

The 37-year-old “Avatar” star said nothing Wednesday as he entered Manhattan Criminal Court in a navy blue pea coat surrounded by photographers.

He was ordered to stay away from photographer Sheng Li for six months and was released on his own recognizance.

Prosecutors say he told officers after the scuffle Sunday in Manhattan’s Greenwich Village that he was protecting his girlfriend. They say he punched Li in the face.

Li was also arrested on reckless endangerment, assault and harassment charges. His lawyer says he shouldn’t have been.

Defense lawyer Stacey Richman told the judge Worthington has been relentlessly followed by photographers.