Has the paparazzi gone too far? Well of course, they have, but isn’t that their job?
I am not sure if you have seen the recent coverage of celebrities in California trying to get stricter laws passed to keep paparazzi from photographing their children. Halle Berry and Jennifer Garner testified in front of the Assembly Judiciary Committee in California: http://news.yahoo.com/blogs/nightline-fix-abc-news/jennifer-garner-halle-berry-emotional-testimony-paparazzi-stalking-144106078.html
The bill includes fines, jail time and civil suits for paparazzi. Here is the thing, does this fall under free speech for photographers who are just doing their job and pose a violation to the 1st Amendment?
On the other hand, does stalking and waiting outside private homes of celebrities constitute an invasion of privacy? Alternatively, once you become a public figure who depends on paparazzi to keep your face, or your brand public do you give up your right to privacy? For what is normally a symbiotic relationship, in this case becomes a moral dilemma.
As a mother, I am sympathetic to the celebrity plight. Protection of the children should come above all else. I love the movies as much as the next woman does and do not begrudge film stars their status. However, they are willing to sacrifice something that I would never give up, privacy. You will not see pictures of my children in the public domain if I can help it.
As writers, we have an advantage here, for the most part no one really cares what we look like and most of the time no one even remembers our names. Try asking a friend the name of the author who wrote the last book he/she just read. Most likely, they will remember the title of the book or novel but not who wrote it unless that person is among the one percent of famous named writers. This is why we work so hard to come up with cute, pithy and catchy titles.
Furthermore, as a writer, I have to protect and defend the first amendment!
So what can celebrities do? Can they blame the paparazzi for doing their job? Should the paparazzi develop a moral compass that guides them to leave the kids alone? Not likely, they are well paid for the pictures they take. Besides, they surely have children of their own for whom they need to provide.
Here is what it comes down to: you and I all have the power to impact this issue if we so choose. All of us have stood at the supermarket checkout stands and picked up or purchased the ‘rag mags’ or some more ‘reputable’ publication with these sorts of photos on the cover. As consumers, we can remove the demand for pictures of celebrity children by not purchasing the magazines and media that exploit minors and print these photographs, because it really is a moral issue. The magazines will come up with something else to photograph that will sell just as many copies. What would you do if they were your children? Think about it.
This was a great piece. It made me think of the time I saw a famous DJ and actor at a festival. I got talking to him and all the time people kept coming up and asking if they could take his photo. ‘Don’t you ever get annoyed?’ I asked him. ‘Sure,’ he said. Then he told me that when he was out with his daughter (she’s about 8) he usually asked people to leave him alone. What was weird, is that later, when he was DJing, he turned towards the end and made a gesture and someone brought his daughter on stage. She was really shy, and trying not to come, but he picked her up and put her on the speaker at the front of the stage where she began to dance in a shuffling way. Pretty weird double standards I thought.