Britney Spears, Jonah Hill, Princess Diana, Anna Nicole Smith, Taylor Swift, Meghan Markle. What do all these Hollywood celebrities have in common? Each one has been relentlessly harassed by celebrity photographers known as paparazzi as part of the sick business of celebrity gossip.
Why we’re saying sayonara to paparazzi pics with #BanPaparazzi
All of us at Hollywood.com stand with our celebrity friends in their right not to be harassed anymore just so someone else can make a quick buck. From this day forward, we will not post another paparazzi photo taken without consent.
We are proud to be the first major entertainment news publication to take this stance.
As a reader, you have more power than you realize. Paparazzi make money from their photos because there’s a demand for them. The more people who stand up and say it’s time to #BanPaparazzi will result in less demand for paparazzi photos.
We urge you all to join and support our movement to #BanPaparazzi:
— HOLLYWOOD.COM (@hollywood_com) March 5, 2021
From this day forward, we will not post another paparazzi photo taken without consent. #BanPaparazzi
Now, let’s delve into the history behind the Hollywood paparazzi’s relentless tormenting of celebrities. While we pride ourselves in providing you with feel-good entertainment news, we want to show you the evils of the paparazzi so you see why we’re taking a stand against them.
Enough is enough. Somebody’s gotta step in and help save our favorite Hollywood celebrities before it’s too late.
Prince Harry and Meghan Markle show that you can’t put a price on life
Princess Diana was stalked and harassed for years until she was finally killed when the paparazzi chased down her car into the Post de L’Alma tunnel in Paris in 1997, causing a fatal car crash. The most expensive paparazzi photo ever sold was of the late princess with her boyfriend, Dodi Fayed, vacationing on a yacht in St. Tropez just weeks before the couples’ death. It sold for $6 million.
Is $6 million worth Prince Harry losing his mother? We don’t think you can put any price on life. Prince Harry, now 36, was just 12 years old when his mother Princess Diana died. Far too young to understand the impact that her life, legacy, and her death would have on his own family choices.
Fast forward 24 years and Prince Harry will sit down with his wife Meghan Markle and Oprah Winfrey for an interview with CBS about why he and Meghan Markle decided to step down from royal life.
It’s common knowledge that the press loves to exploit the lives of royals. Just last month, a High Court Judge ruled that British tabloids had invaded Meghan Markle’s privacy. Here’s what Meghan Markle had to say about the situation: “For these outlets, it’s a game,” she continued. “For me and so many others, it’s real life, real relationships, and very real sadness. The damage they have done and continue to do runs deep.”
In a clip released about the upcoming interview with Oprah, Prince Harry said his “biggest concern was history repeating itself.” Prince Harry expanded on the impact of the relentless paparazzi and news coverage in an interview with James Corden, saying “it was destroying my mental health.”
Princess Diana’s eldest son Prince William has also struggled with invasions of privacy from the paparazzi. His wife, Duchess of Cambridge Kate Middleton, was unknowingly photographed topless by the paparazzi in Provence. That photo ended in a legal battle won by the Cambridges with the publisher, The Closer, paying fines to the royal couple.
It appears that Prince William and Kate Middleton have been dealing with the paps well before the 2012 incident. In a new book, Kate: A Biography, it’s revealed that in 2005, Prince William wrote a legal letter to the UK newspapers following an incident where the paparazzi followed Kate Middleton all day and photographed her on a bus on her way to a job interview.
When is Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s interview with Oprah?
The paparazzi love to profit from celebrity tragedies – just look at what happened with Lady Gaga
When tragedy strikes, the paparazzi are always ready to jump. Just last week, Lady Gaga’s dogwalker was shot and her two dogs were stolen. Luckily, a woman turned them in on Friday evening. Lady Gaga has been in Rome on location for her upcoming film Gucci, and her security team “had strict measures to protect her” when she left her hotel this past Tuesday, March 2nd.
The Hollywood Fix shared a video showing the pop-up hallway leading from Lady Gaga’s hotel to a waiting car to keep her protected from the cameras waiting for the “money shot.” Her team was smart enough to block the car’s windows with newspapers, too.
Seriously though, why did they have to do all of this just to give Lady Gaga a bit of privacy after an incredibly traumatic event?
Speaking of trauma, it’s time to officially #FreeBritney of the paparazzi
As portrayed in The New York Times Presents: Framing Britney Spears, the successful pop star similarly became an object of the paparazzi’s obsession ever since she rose to stardom as a teen.
The constant harassment culminated in her public breakdown in 2007, where she shaved her head and smashed a paparazzi’s car window with an umbrella, resulting in some of the most expensive paparazzi photos ever sold.
This breakdown resulted in the controversial conservatorship that still remains held today, despite countless Britney Spears fans advocating their support through the #FreeBritney movement.
We wonder where Britney Spears would be if the paparazzi hadn’t harassed her for so many years.
We don’t believe in profiting from a celebrity’s lowest moments. Do you think it’s worth it?
Dua Lipa “shudders” at the thought of paparazzi following her.
Pop stars today can relate to Britney Spears. In a recent interview with the Los Angeles Times, Dua Lipa talks about her decision to become much more private as her stardom grows, saying how “the feeling of going down the street and they’re trying to catch you in this very awkward picture — it can be anxiety-inducing, honestly.”
Although Instagram has taken some power away from the tabloids, Dua Lipa “shudders” at the awkward paparazzi shots that still circle the internet, mentioning an example of “looking nuts” after just waking up and trying to head to the gym.
Paparazzi photos are used to body shame celebs like Jonah Hill and Billie Eilish
Jonah Hill recently pointed fingers at the media for body-shaming him for years, resulting in insecurities, including never wanting to take his shirt off in a pool until his mid-30s. Jonah Hill shared on Instagram how it “probably would have happened sooner if my childhood insecurities weren’t exacerbated by years of public mockery about my body by press and interviewers.”
The constant scrutiny over celebrities’ bodies and weight is often the go-to topic of conversation with published paparazzi photos, perpetuating unhealthy body image standards and normalizing body-shaming.
Other celebrities, including Jessie J, have taken to social media to comment on paparazzi photos too, sharing this on her Instagram:
A similar story happened with pop-star Billie Eilish back in October 2020. A paparazzi photo was published on Page Six, and for the first time, the public saw Billie Eilish without her signature baggy clothes look.
The media slammed her and fans were quick to strike back.
Negative comments like this don’t just impact the celebrity subjects of the photos––they have a huge impact on the people who read them. Just look at how Jonah Hill and Billie Eilish fans reacted to the negative media backlash of their paparazzi photos.
If tabloids are willing to insult the rich and famous, what would they say about us?
Celebrities can’t get away from the paparazzi, and it takes a toll on their mental health
It seems that one thing all celebs have in common is disliking the paparazzi. Some will do whatever it takes to get them off their backs, and who can blame them?
Sean Penn is famously known for his aggressive response to the paps. In 1985, the actor tried to protect then-girlfriend Madonna from two photographers trying to snap pics while she was on her morning jog. Time spoke with one tabloid reporter, who recalled that “[Sean Penn] said, ‘No pictures — you take my picture and I’ll break your back with this rock.” The actor ended up hitting the reporter and had to pay a fine.
In a 2006 W Magazine profile, Cameron Diaz opened up about the predatory paparazzi after she made the tabloids for striking a photographer outside Chateau Marmot in 2004. The photographers ended up suing Cameron Diaz and then-boyfriend Justin Timberlake for assault.
Cameron Diaz recalls the “overwhelming pressure” on her during this time, saying “Everybody says, ‘You’re famous, deal with it.’ Well, you know what? I had been famous for a good 10 years and had never had to deal with anything like that before.” W Magazine explains how the star was in “perpetual fight-or-flight mode.”
In 2015, supermodel Cara Delivingne tweeted her disdain for the paps, saying “I refuse to let these grown men treat people like objects with no feelings and get away with it, I will never be silent.”
I refuse to let these grown men treat people like objects with no feelings and get away with it, I will never be silent.
— Cara Delevingne (@Caradelevingne) September 22, 2015
Another time, Emma Stone and Andrew Garfield took a different approach after spotting paparazzi outside the New York City cafe where they were eating lunch.
The duo walked out with small signs covering their faces that called attention to several charities. Emma Stone’s sign said:
“Good morning! We were eating and saw a group of guys with cameras outside. And so we thought, let’s try this again. We don’t need the attention, but these wonderful organizations do —->”
Her sign pointed to Andrew Garfield’s, which included links to Youth Mentoring Connection, Autism Speaks, Worldwide Orphans, and Gilda’s Club NYC, saying “here’s to the stuff that matters.”
Not even celebrity kids are safe from the paps
Paparazzi can charge an arm and a leg for photos of celebrity children who never asked for the spotlight.
Oscar-winner Halle Berry is no stranger to paparazzi, but it’s even worse for her kids. “My daughter doesn’t want to go to school because she knows ‘the men’ are watching for her,” Yahoo! News reported in 2013.
Here’s what Halle Berry said in her testimony to a state assembly in Sacramento back in 2013, according to The Guardian: “These are little innocent children who didn’t ask to be celebrities. They didn’t ask to be thrown into this game and they don’t have the wherewithal to process what’s happening.”
In 2013, laws were enacted to minimize photography of celebrities’ minor children if it “seriously alarms, annoys, torments or terrorizes” them. A violation of these rules could result in fines or jail time. This rule doesn’t apply to public figures who are minors.
Early in 2014, Kristen Bell and Dax Shepard took to Twitter using the hashtag #pedorazzi to convince entertainment news outlets to enact a no-kids policy.
— Kristen Bell (@KristenBell) February 1, 2014
— dax shepard (@daxshepard) February 25, 2014
Dax Shepard penned a piece in the Huffington Post called “Why Our Children Should Be Off Limits to the Paparazzi,” saying:
“So as long as people pay good money to buy magazines featuring famous people’s children, there will be men popping out of bushes and lurking around playgrounds to get those pics. Those are just the facts. The consumer is the only one who can put an end to this. They are the only ones with real power.”
The couple successfully convinced several entertainment news publishers to stop purchasing photos of their children.
Paparazzi: meaning and origin
Paparazzi’s definition stems from a movie, but paparazzi existed well before the term was coined.
Even though the true paparazzi meaning and origin is debated, it’s believed to have links to an Italian film called La Dolce Vita that was released in 1960 by Federico Fellini. The film centers around a problematic news photographer named Paparazzo. A 2015 BBC blog post claims that Federico Fellini chose the name because it sounded “like a buzzing insect, hovering, darting, stinging.”
Federico Fellini was inspired by a real-life Italian photographer named Tazio Secchiaroli. In 1958, the photographer took a photo of King Farouk, the King of Egypt at the time. The two got in a scuffle over the photograph (proof that celebrities have never been a fan of the paps, even before this specific breed of photographer was given its infamous label).
Federico Fellini’s character name was later adapted in a 1961 TIME article entitled “The Press: Paparazzi on the Prowl.” The article vividly describes a small crew of Italian photographers known for capturing Katharine Hepburn, Ava Gardner, and even royalty. Here is the vivid description:
“The paparazzi are a small crew—a couple of dozen at most —and they are more bullyboys than news photographers. They lounge beneath lampposts, lips leaking cigarettes, cameras drawn like automatics.”
Just because paparazzi are legal doesn’t make what they do okay
Since the enactment of the California law preventing paparazzi from photographing celebrities’ minor children in some circumstances, some news publications followed suit, agreeing not to publish such photos of celebrity children. Even baby brand Britax put out a press release pledging to no longer promote photos of celebrities using their products––which include car seats and strollers––if those photos were taken without consent.
We’re taking it a step further. It’s time to #BanPaparazzi.
Our empathy extends to all people––children and adults alike. Nobody deserves to be stalked, harassed, or photographed without their consent.
We ask you to stand with all of us at Hollywood.com in our fight for stronger laws to ban this invasion of privacy so that no one else has to suffer as a result of paparazzi harassment ever again.
Every single person who speaks out against the paparazzi brings us one step closer to protecting the mental health and well-deserved privacy of the celebrities who entertain us with their talents.
Just like Dax Shepard said, consumers have the power. You can join us in our fight to save celebrities from the mental anguish and torture of the paps just by becoming more intentional about the entertainment news content you choose to consume.
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