Our Opinion

From the website NJ.com comes this refreshing piece by Amber Watson-Tardiff:

'Britain's Got Talent' star Susan Boyle has public meltdown
Friday, May 29th, 2009

"Have you ever wondered why we don't have more good, clean entertainment for our children? I'm thinking it has something to do with the way we, as society, treat our entertainers...

If true stars like Susan Boyle continue to go in hiding due to the actions of the paparazzi, the only people left to influence our kids will be teeny-bopper fame-starved starlets who will do almost anything to catch the public eye (I think you get my drift without naming names here)." See full article HERE.

Ms. Watson-Tardiff is very astute in understanding that if we harass those artists that get to the top, if we make their lives miserable by constant badgering, what kind of incentive will that provide to artists in general to come out and share their talents with all of us? 

Bottom line:  without art this planet we live on would be very, very dreary.  Why hammer away at individuals who provide us with music, literature, movies, sculpture, paintings and in many cases, inspiration?

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Have you seen the recent video of Woody Harrelson dealing with a paparazzo at La Guardia airport? Woody was with his daughter, he was walking from his flight to his transportation, he didn't say hardly a word the entire time and he made it extremely clear from his actions that he preferred not to be video taped.

But the paparazzo had to keep baiting him and putting the camera in his face.

And truth is, the paparazzo unfortunately has that right - he can follow people all he wants, put a camera in their face as he pleases, say pretty much whatever he wishes to the person he is following. But Mr. Jacobs, my 8th grade science teacher, taught me that for ever action, there is an equal and opposite reaction and in this case, the paparazzo got his reaction from Woody.

It was sad to watch because Woody was trying hard to leave the guy alone. You can tell he wanted to just take his kid and go. And he almost made it. But the paparazzo put the camera in his face and Woody reacted. And in the end, the paparazzo got what he was after - a confrontation and a video that he could sell. His dream had come true - he got a big pay day.

Woody knew he'd made a mistake and later jokingly commented on the incident through his publicist:  "I wrapped a movie called `Zombieland,' in which I was constantly under assault by zombies, then flew to New York, still very much in character.  With my daughter at the airport I was startled by a paparazzo who I quite understandably mistook for a zombie." 

You can't harass people without some consequences. Every week, paparazzi chase celebrities in caravans running stop lights - you can't have this without eventually someone getting hurt...again...whether it be a paparazzo, celebrity or pedestrian.

It's easy for us to page through the magazines looking at the photos of celebrities and ignore what they commonly go through day-in and day-out because of the paparazzi. But before someone else is hurt, shouldn't we do SOMETHING to try and prevent it?

Two easy ways to help - let others know about this site and print and mail our Human Privacy and Respect in the Media Code of Conduct to your favorite magazine or tabloid show.

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On March 13, 2009, the paparazzi went too far with Lily Allen and the British High Court agreed issuing a restraining order limiting them from following her. Though she was depicted as crazily lashing out at the paparazzi that day, she tells the real story in THE INDEPENDENT of what happened that lead her to take legal action.

"Seven cars had been chasing me since I left home. I turned into a T-junction and they all ran a red light, then tried to overtake on the inside. A woman had to slam the brakes on her car as they cut in. She had two children in the car, a baby in the back seat, a six-year-old in the front. I braked too, of course, and this guy ran into the back of me. I got out of the car. I was shaken up. There was a lot of force. I was really angry. I went up to him and said, you know, 'What the fuck are you doing? You can't do this.' 

"Instead of talking to me, like a decent human being would at a decent human level, he got his camera out and started taking pictures, and I just thought, 'I've had it with the press, I can't do this any more.' It was mental. And I got back into the car and called my lawyer. 

"He called up a judge and booked me into court the next day. And luckily the court understood where I was coming from and granted an order to stop the harassment. They are now not allowed to wait outside my house, follow me in cars, wait for me outside friends' houses, or my family's houses. Take pictures of me with my friends and family. They can take a picture of me when I'm walking out of a restaurant or out of a shop and that's it. If they follow me I can serve them with a court order. I'm beyond happy. 

"It's like I've been allowed to have success and a life. Because sometimes it makes you feel like a caged animal, being followed by 20 men with cameras all day. The second I walk out the door, it's like that. It cost me a fuck of a lot of money but it's the best money I've ever spent. I'm very pleased and very grateful."

Exactly how it should be for everyone - including celebrities.  Spread the word.

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Can you imagine waking up every morning, jumping out of bed and hurrying to work where you harass hardworking, successful artists, commonly making them feel worse and in some cases causing them to wonder if they've chosen the wrong path in life? In an interview shown below, Lily Allen talks about the paparazzi hounding her.

Get More: Music News

Lily Allen:  "I don't like this, this is my time off. I've just been on tour for two years. This isn't my job to walk out my house and be followed around by 30 guys with cameras all day. That's when you start going, 'F--- this s---. I've really had it.'   But now...I'm working, I'm on the promo trail, there's an interest.  It makes sense. But there are times when it doesn't, and I get irritated and annoyed and unhappy at those times and I start thinking maybe I'm not doing the right thing with my life because it's obviously not making me happy."

Is it possible this is what the paparazzi machine is really after - to drive our successful artists to abandon their art so that we have nothing left in this world to bring us some happiness and help us forget our troubles?

I frankly don't know how the paparazzi even get out of bed in the morning.

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The Paparazzi and Heath Ledger's Sandblasted Dignity

Posted by admin on February 28, 2009

The following excerpt was written on March 1, 2009 by Eddie McGuire, a well-known journalist in Australia. The full article can be found in the Australian Herald Sun.

"...Ledger's life was made miserable by the paparazzi. He bought a prized possession, a beachfront home in Sydney's Bronte. 

Unfortunately for Ledger, even at his level of celebrity he did not anticipate the war that would be waged on him and his privacy. They have a term for that in the Sydney media - it's called "hosing". The term evokes images of the paparazzi mentality of going after someone in the manner of a prison guard with a high pressure nozzle hosing down a naked prisoner. 

Not only is it designed to strip bare a person for the world to see, but also to sandblast their dignity. 

Further, you may remember, the paparazzi then attacked Ledger on the red carpet, firing water pistols at him. They may as well have been bullets, such was the shock and impact."

It is hard enough getting through life without our "friends" pointing out our flaws and frailties to us and others. 

To put it in the proper scope, the paparazzi act like a Hubble-size magnifying glass pointing out to the world real (or usually invented) flaws in our most popular artists.  To say that the paparazzi's intense scrutiny does not inflict its own wounds and contribute to the implosion of some of our most beloved personalities would be simply unobservant. 

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