The Paparazzi Pursuit

IMG_0381They converge several times a week like flies on a dead carcass. Blocking the street, the sidewalk, hanging their cameras over the fence. Making boatloads of noise.    Just for a glimpse of Lindsay Lohan, whose DJ girlfriend is reputed to live a couple of blocks from me.

It’s super irritating. And I’m only a neighbor, not the one they are stalking.  I can’t imagine what it must be like to try and have any semblance of a ‘normal’ life if you are the object of their affection!

When I simply pulled up to take their picture, and there were about three times as many lounging around waiting, they immediately, and very aggressively turned their cameras on me.  And forget talking to them, reminding them this is a neighborhood where people actually live and want to easily pass on the street without them blocking the way, they got downright abusive, shouting and wanting to know where I lived.

I know this is a problem specific to LA, and in the grand scheme of things a minor one… but it really does seem like there should be better laws in our city that prohibit paparazzi from blocking the sidewalk and the street.  And aggressively pursuing people.

After a couple of days of this, I stopped a police person one morning who happened to be in the neighborhood and he said there was nothing he could do.  He agreed to stop by the address and check to see if any of the photographers cars were missing front or back plates, and give out tickets for that.  He said that typically they remove their plates to avoid traffic tickets from the traffic-cams when they are running red lights in pursuit of the celebrity.

I guess it is part of what comes with the territory…. but it affects a lot of people, not just the person who chose to be a celebrity.

24 Replies to “The Paparazzi Pursuit”

  1. I really agree. There needs to be regulation. Paparazzi are a relatively new development as far as culture goes, so we don’t have any laws on the books to deal with them. But just because there’s no precedent limiting the paps, doesn’t mean it shouldn’t exist. Somehow a balance must be struck between freedom of the press and keeping these people under control.

  2. Have you tried talking with your neighborhood council and/or city councilman? That would be a good place to start.

    Ask your neighbors if they’d be willing to sign a petition of complaint and submit that to your council along with these photos.

    Basically, you’ll need to become a burr under their ass until something is done.

  3. Maybe we should organize a gathering of our own.

    Imagine how fun it would be if a large Metblogs crew began furiously snapping shots of these idiots and asking them TMZ-like questions.

    “So, Ricky… see any good celebs lately? How do you like that new Canon EOS? Does your mom still think you work at Warner Brothers?”

  4. “Because there’s no precedent doesn’t mean it shouldn’t exist.”

    That’s scary talk Michele. Renegade and fringe journalistic element that the paparazzi may be, the regulatory precedent you hope for would be nothing less than a direct affront to the freedom of the press. You prohibit them in any way, shape or form and what’s to stop the prohibition of other members of the media.

    Tammara’s right that it’s an LA-centric disease, but its a worldwide symptom born of unchecked star worship. Individual action may not have the impact of any legal restrictions, but on a personal level people need to break from from the cult of celebrity by boycotting outlets that thrive on the photos these people take. Be it the photogs or the magazines and website that buy and run their images, they’re just giving the consumers what they want. So stop consuming it.

  5. Will: I just don’t think stalking & provoking people who happen to be famous should fall under the definition of freedom of the press. But you’re right about the cult of celebrity.

  6. When I wrote this post, I thought about the difficulty of making laws that wouldn’t hamper freedom of the press. I would never want that, that is what I so love about America. That we can publish anything we want. It’s a thorny issue, yet, these guys really put people at risk. Now that I have to deal with it on a daily basis in my neighborhood, especially the traffic problem caused because they stand in the street, I hate it. It’s dangerous and they have no regard for the problem they cause. I will write my council person… and I seem to remember that there are laws against them blocking the sidewalk & street, ie: they have to keep moving. But to police that… impossible. I’ve seriously thought of turning a hose on them. Goes against my buddhist nature, drat!

  7. I agree with you Michele, stalking or provoking people — and with the reckless disregard they display to boot — is despicable. I just don’t know how you could regulate them without regulating all media.

    Tammara: I’m not sure if there are laws on the books specifically prohibiting papz from blocking sidewalks/streets. I’m pretty sure it’s illegal in general for anyone to block access to public thoroughfares.

  8. If these people are claiming freedom of the press, then they either need to identify themselves by the companies they work for or be identified as self-employed–thus subject to a business license. This does not abridge their freedoms, only requires that they have proper identification. If it’s their business, then let them pay the City/County for the right to conduct their business. If they are employed by a news/media outlet then they should have proper ID. When someone from a blog goes to a media event you have to provide proof that you have proper credentials and were thus invited.
    No one invites these carrior eaters to public locations to practice their ‘trade’.
    If I want to solicit donations for a charitable organization in the City of LA I have to provide proper documentation so I can have the right to do so in public places.
    Perhaps the money generated by the business licenses could pay in part for better monitoring of this misuse of common thoroughfares…

  9. I totally agree with Will on this, and absolutely disagree with Gabriele. I for one have obtained plenty of press access without being employed by a news org, and hope to continue doing so. A paycheck or employer does not press make, nor should having to pay business licenses. Additionally, most of these scumbag paps would likely be able to get an ID from some outlet if that was a requirement, so it wouldn’t do much to begin with.

    Existing laws need to be enforced and people like Lindsay and other attention seeking celebs need to stop encouraging the paps by tipping them off and being idiots when they’re out in public.

    That said, I’m with Jason that we need to turn the cameras on the bloodsucking paps, follow them home, post the dirty details of their lives online. Turnaround is a fair play.

  10. Just because a law is not now in place doesn’t mean a new one isn’t appropriate. If that were the standard, we wouldn’t even have the First Amendment! Let’s first look at enforcing existing laws, such as prohibitions on blocking streets or sidewalks. And if the paparazzi take off their license plates with the purpose of running red lights, that’s a no-brainer!

    But beyond that, it’s perfectly legitimate to look at whether any new laws or ordinances need to be passed to prohibit paparazzi from harassing people and/or endangering the public safety, consistent with their First Amendment rights. That such laws or ordinances are not yet on the books is simply immaterial.

  11. yeah David… they hated it when I took their picture. That’s when they started harassing me….

  12. Numerous attempts have been made to craft laws that single out amusive paparazzi already… for better or worse (I think for better), they fail because they ultimately infringe of free speech. But its z pretty scary prospect from the get go when you’re considering restricting a photographer, videographer, or writers rights based on what you believe they’re going to write about… which is what this comes down to. I also know that I don’t want access to public roads restricted just because a celebrity has moved into the area.

  13. I do love the “turn the tables on the paparazzi” idea though. I don’t know why more celebs don’t do that. I think many people would be surprised by the huge phalanxes of cameras and lights that often bear down on these folks. It sounds like a fun project for us. We could also dress up as our favorite celebs to try to throw off the paparazzi.

    I agree with Will, though, that the problem would not exist if so many consumers did not create the demand for these photos and the salacious tidbits that often accompany them.

  14. Great post and bravo for your taking a pic only to learn they were irritated by it. I’m in with Burn’s and the rest for a photo outing, and not just of paparazzi though.

  15. An alternative name that might be less gynecological and more media-friendly could be the Razzi Razz, wherein we razz the ‘razzi or engage in the razzing of the ‘razzi (kind of like the changing of the guard or the Running of the Bulls).

    Couldn’t we invite the public to take part? This could be the type of pranksterish protest that media outlets would eat up.

  16. I’m liking where this brainstorming is heading. Let’s make this happen. Who knows how to reliably find where the paparazzi are stalking on any given day/time?

  17. Since my first offering appears to have made Matt shake his head in distaste and decorum , my next name for the group might not be much better received:

    The ‘Razzi Nazis!

  18. Will, I loved your name for the event. My first thought was, this is pure genius from Will, as we’ve come to expect. I’m simply thinking of what would “go down” best with local and even national media, assuming (big assumption) that we would want such publicity.

    I like your alternate name a lot too, although, while it’s a great name for the paps, it doesn’t really describe the event itself or any action that we might be taking.

  19. I’m late to this discussion but find it an excellent one. All the points brought up are valid. There IS a way to limit the paparazzi without limiting the press. I worked in security in Hollywood for many years and founded this organization after seeing how crazy it gets. Check it out: http://www.paparazzi-reform.org

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