BTC – You may have noticed. California’s paparazzi have become detrimental to the health of their communities. I speak for myself.
Paris Hilton saved myself and others from being trampled. I was one of a few bystanders on Santa Monica’s promenade when an extremely fast moving whorde of paparazzi shooting pictures took over the sidewalk. She was leaving a store, waving. The paparazzi had their backs turned to myself and other bystanders and couldn’t see us. Within a matter of seconds we were boxed in and the photographers were going to trample us. Hilton saw the few of us with no way to get out and made a fast decision to move into the center of the street. The paparazzi followed her quickly and we escaped unharmed. After being trapped for only a few moments by paparazzi, I realized Los Angeles’ celebrity culture had a real problem.
While I was impressed with Hilton’s quick thinking, I was more astonished by the piranha like nature of these swift stalking celebrity photographers. I did live to see Paris Hilton, human being, walking on the Promenade without a swarm of paparazzi. Britney Spears’ was not so lucky. Her deteriorating mental health episodes in 2008 were relentlessly documented by paparazzi without any limit or respect for her basic human right to privacy. Sandra Bullock, guilty of no malice, couldn’t leave a friend’s driveway. She was boxed in by flashcam surveillance.
These experiences made me want to carry a tac hammer in my purse. Had I been in their shoes, vandalizing expensive lens equipment would be a refreshing way for me to establish proper boundaries.
A new legislation is up for consideration in the California State Assembly, AB 2479. It would protect people from open stalking and intrusions on their privacy and from aggressive surveillance.
The legislation is important because future public profiles and cases based on a persons public personae might extend to simple yet significant venues like social networks. If this bill passes celebrity plaintiffs would have the right to sue or press charges against businesses and individuals responsible for commercial surveillance (or surveillance for profit) of their private lives. In cases where bullying or obsessive stalking occurs due to MySpace or Facebook profiles, depending on the number of “fans”, the law could be helpful in prosecutions.
Nevertheless, the cult following of any celebrity, be it A-List or otherwise, should not interfere with their basic rights to privacy as US citizens.