Police say a crowd of around 100 people threw stones, overturned a limo and damaged a hotel suite belonging to movie director Mel Brooks after mistaking him for News International CEO Rebekah Brooks.
Mrs Brooks is at the centre of fresh allegations over phone hacking by the News of the World.
85-year old comedy legend Brooks said: "What is it with you mishugana Brits? "I’d have understood if you’d mistaken me for Mel Gibson."
Chief Inspector Derek Hobbs, who is heading the investigation into the attack, said: "We want to send a message that this sort of senseless violence against an innocent man will not be tolerated from members of the public; that's a job for the police.”
He added: "We are studying CCTV footage of the attack on Mr Brooks, and we have to say it's the funniest film he‘s done in years."
Prior to the incident, tensions had been running high with copies of Blazing Saddles being set alight; apparently with no sense of irony.
A spokesperson for News International said: "While we don’t want to fan the flames, we do think it is worth remembering that Mr Brooks has previously composed songs praising Hitler, has breakdanced while dressed as the Fuhrer and once encouraged a man to punch a horse. Although, in saying that, so has Rebekah; hence the confusion.
"However, the majority of our readers are sophisticated enough to comprehend basic words, and to work out if they’re holding the paper the right way up.”
Theresa Murray, a 32-year old cheese processor, was one of vigilantes involved. She said: "I don't think she should be allowed to get away with it. I had been reading in the papers about the phone thing; but I was even more outraged when I found out she was responsible for Robin Hood: Men in Tights. Whoever this Mel Brooks is she's clearly a right nasty piece of work."
There have even been demands for a so-called 'Mel's Law', to prevent Brooks from turning any more of his good films into terrible musicals.
The News of the World now intends to publish a full apology to Mel Brooks; which, according to messages on his voicemail, they say he is willing to accept.
Meanwhile, Rebekah Brooks has promised to "thoroughly investigate herself in the strongest terms" and to establish once and for all what she does or doesn't know.