Tuesday, February 25th, 2014
Anyone who has watched Keeping Up With The Kardashians or TMZ knows that the paparazzi can be relentless when trying to get photos of famous people, even when the celebs are just going about their daily business. This guerilla-style method of photography allows us to get our fix of candid shots in our celebrity magazines and tabloids. However, celebrities and, most importantly, their kids suffer from constantly being stalked in the process. Luckily for our favorite famous kids, there could be an end to this madness in the future. One major magazine is changing its policy: New People magazine editorial director Jess Cagle has decided to put an end to unsanctioned celebrity pictures in the popular publication, stating that “[People has] no interest in running kids’ photos taken under duress.”
This isn’t the first time that the paparazzi’s treatment of celebrity children has come into question. Last summer, Jennifer Garner and Halle Berry testified about paparazzi stalking their kids in the hopes that California lawmakers would pass stricter laws. “We are moms here who are just trying to protect our children. It’s not about me. Take my picture. I get it. But these little innocent children, they didn’t ask to be celebrities,” Berry testified.
Though there was solid celebrity backing behind this initiative, not everyone is in favor of reforming paparazzi laws to benefit celebrity children. People is the only major magazine thus far that has changed its tune on candid kids shots. US Weekly publically defended its usage of paparazzi pictures. “No one told [celebrity parents] they had to have children. No one told them they had to live in Los Angeles. No one told them they had to live in New York … These are choices that they made,” said Ian Drew, entertainment director, in response to efforts to reform paparazzi laws.
I admit that I am a hypocrite when it comes to the debate about paparazzi versus celebrity kids. On one hand, I can’t imagine even one random person taking pictures of my family or me as we go to the grocery store or the gym. Truth be told, it’s crazy that we allow strangers to go around and snap shots of innocent kids trying to get to school, and I understand why any celebrity parent would be pushing for reform. However, I have to admit that I read the tabloids every so often and I enjoy the pictures of celebrity kids (and, yes, we do occasionally use these shots here on Parents.com). Even worse, I read Suri’s Burn Book, a blog that takes celebrity kid pictures and then makes fun of them. I think I choose to believe that celebrities and their families are a different breed and can tolerate crazy paparazzi and bullying.
In reality, celebrity kids are just like our kids, give or take a few million dollars. We shouldn’t allow people to harass them and take pictures of them when they are simply trying to do their day-to-day activities. I am glad that People magazine is taking a stand against paparazzi photography of children, and I hope the publication follows through. I just might be its next subscriber.
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Image of photographers via Shutterstock.
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Thursday, August 22nd, 2013
From the Star Shots of Star to the Hot Pics of US Weekly, from the Startracks of People to the News in Photos of OK! magazines compete to get their hands on the best snapshots of celebrities and their families. Photos of celebrity children are in demand because readers nationwide clamor for them.
We want to know that stars are just like us, juggling kids and diaper bags and carpools. (In fact, US Weekly dedicates a whole page to the callout “Stars—they’re just like US!” and now a full page to “Kids Stars—they’re just like US!”) But do we stop to think about how the paparazzi that feed into these publications managed to snag these shots?
Halle Berry described one situation during her custody battle that bordered on a verbal assault of her 5-year-old daughter Nahla, “[The photographer] said, ‘How do you feel, Nahla? You may not see your father again. How do you feel about that?”
Now pregnant with her second child, Berry is taking action by supporting strict amendments to a bill known as SB606. The existing law states that it is a misdemeanor crime to “harass a child due to the occupation of his or her parents or guardian.” The proposed amendments to the law would allow the attempt to photograph or record a child without parental consent to be classified as such harassment and would escalate the punishment of these crimes (from an up to $1,000 fine to an up to $10,000 fine and increase the maximum imprisonment from six months to one year). The new law would also allow the parents to file a civil action against perpetrators.
Of course, the media is up in arms waving First Amendment rights and Freedom of the Press. Motion Picture Association of America and other organizations oppose the bill for these reasons and for the unintended consequences that could result: What if you take a picture of your kid at soccer practice and Suri Cruz just happens to be in the background?
But, in truth, the MPAA need not worry about this. The law, as it is currently proposed, bans harassment. Taking a photo of a child in public in and of itself is not harassment, but can be considered harassment if the act “seriously alarms, annoys, torments, or terrorizes the child” to the point of “substantial emotional distress.”
Listening to the stories of these celeb parents, the paparazzi’s behavior is not just an invasion of privacy it is potentially harmful to these kids. On August 13, Jennifer Garner—actress and mom of three—testified to the Assembly Judiciary Committee in Sacramento, “Large aggressive men swarm us causing a mob scene, yelling, jockeying for a position, crowding around the kids. My 17-month-old baby is terrified and cries.” Berry stated that her daughter is afraid to go to school because photographers are always jumping out of the bushes.
The bill passed the Judiciary Committee and now awaits judgment by the Assembly Appropriations Committee before becoming official law. While Berry and Garner are the public supporters of the bill, I can only imagine that other actors and actresses feel the same way. One could argue that along with their career choice, they have opted in to a life in the public eye. But should their children’s daily lives be fodder for our daily entertainment by default?
Garner nearly burst into tears as she pleaded her case, “I don’t want a gang of shouting, arguing, lawbreaking photographers who camp out everywhere we are all day every day to continue traumatizing my kids.”
Since much of the intention behind these pictures is to show that celebrities are just like us, perhaps we should consider if us average Janes would put up with the constant camera flashes and provocative shouting every time we went to the grocery store or school or piano lessons or T-ball. Do the kids of stars have a right to the same treatment as our children?
Let us know your thoughts below!
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Celebrity, The Parents Perspective