Should celebrity’s children be fair game?

Today I am blogging about how celebrities are legally fighting back against the paparazzi. More specifically, I will be reading Reuter’s report in the NY Daily News. This article explains the California bill, passed in September 2013, which ruled that the paparazzi must leave the children of paparazzi alone. My blog post will be in a live blog format, meaning that I will be responding to each individual paragraph with a timestamped addition to this blog.

5:34 PM: The opening paragraph discusses how actresses/mothers Jennifer Garner and Halle Berry both supported the passing of this bill. It continues on to say that the bill was signed by Governor Jerry Brown. This paragraph only states the facts and names of the people involved, so I cannot give personal feedback just yet.

5:36 PM: The next chunk of the article only provides one sentence about how Governor Jerry Brown is a Democrat and dated rock singer Linda Ronstadt in the 1970s. I don’t think that the information about the governor’s former dating life is relevant at all to the story being covered in this article. I’m actually pretty surprised that it is even mentioned because Reuters is usually a very professional and factual source of journalism.

5:39 PM: This piece states that The California Newspaper Publishers Association opposed the bill. This is very obvious because this is how many of the companies under this association make their money. It continues on to say that the bill increased the penalties for harassing children because of what their parents’ job is “on the grounds that it could restrict reporters and photographers covering the news.” I’m not entirely sure how this restricts the news from being covered, but I suppose that the legal argument being made is that the stories shouldn’t be about the children because they aren’t famous the ones; and that makes sense to me.

5:43 PM: This paragraph provided facts and figures regarding the penalties for harassing children before and after the passing of the bill. The penalties before the bill was passed were 6 months jail time and a possible fine of $1,000. After the passing of the bill, this became 1 year jail time and up to $10,000 in possible fines. That’s a pretty steep jump in numbers, especially the fines! It’s a good idea because paparazzi can make $1,000 off a picture or two, but $10,000 is a bigger loss and therefore makes paparazzi less likely to take the risk and photograph the kids in the first place – they have more to lose.

5:46 PM: The next piece explains that Jennifer Garner and Halle Berry testified in court in August, which helped to boost the severity of the case. I think this is a great example of how stars can use their fame and power to create positive influence and change. Both of these women are well respected in society and seen as good moms. The jury would most likely value their insider opinion on the topic; at least more so than a celebrity who is seen as a bad influence or a bad mother.

5:48 PM: The end of the articles first provides one sentence stating that Garner told the court that her and her children were followed everywhere they go. The following paragraph gives a powerful quote from her about how people always see the warning signs to a tragedy after it is already too late. The article closes by quoting her as saying “I am asking you as a parent to pay attention.” I think the combination of the last two paragraphs of the article do a good job of giving a summary of what Jennifer Garner contributed in court without taking away the focus of the new bill that has been passed in California. It definitely appeals to the pathos of the reader.

Image of Jennifer Garner and Halle Berry making statements in court.

Image of Jennifer Garner and Halle Berry making statements in court.

Overall, this article was very helpful in covering the passing of the new bill, summarizing what legal changes have been made, and providing relatable information about the celebrities who appeared in court. Before reading this article, I felt that the children of celebrities by no means should be harassed by the paparazzi, but if the parents wanted to take them out in public, any photograph in a public space is fair game. However, after reading this article, in specific, the quote from Jennifer Garner, I realized that it is a much deeper issue than just the law that any photograph taken in a public space is okay. A child doesn’t get to decide who his or her parents are, so it is ridiculous to assume that any child should have to endure the harassment of the paparazzi. It is very refreshing to know that a bill has been passed on the matter because it shows that people are taking this issue as seriously as it should be. The limitation to this argument is that no one can fully stop paparazzi from photographing these children, because doing so would go against the First Amendment of our Constitution. This source could be used in my argument to support the idea that the privacy of celebrities’ lives is a much deeper issue than we realize. Their families are also at stake. Can people argue that newborn infants of celebrities should also “expect” to have their privacy and safety violated by paparazzi?

2 Responses

  1. Jake Bertelson at |

    Marisa with one S, I enjoyed your live blog very much. You make a very good case for the privacy of celebrities’ children, as well as going with the grain in regards to the First Amendment rights of the paparazzi.

    I do agree that children should not be subject to harassment by the same paparazzi that harass their parents. As celebrities, they are aware that “privacy” is a flexible term. They knew it would come with the territory of fame, but I agree that their children have not been able to make that choice yet, and therefore should not be subject to the same consequences as their celebrity parents.

    However, with my irrevocable love for the law, and the rights of citizens, I would ask how far does this privacy bill go? How much of the First Amendment right to freedom of the press is being, dare I say, infringed upon by this bill? Can these children FORM the feeling of harassment that an otherwise fully grown adult can. Do they like their picture taken?

    Then again, I believe that Jennifer Garner and other celebrity parents would be taking legal action if their children had not expressed their discontent with the attention, or if, in fact, the media attention that the children are getting could be detrimental to their futures.

    I am a form supporter of the First Amendment. But I believe that your argument would hold merit in a court, just as Ms. Garner’s argument did. I also agree with you. Children should be subject to their parents decisions, unless those decisions inherently improve their future. Children, in a way, have no choice but to go with the flow of their parents lives, and I’m glad that these celebrity parents stepped up and said something about this infraction and this invasion of privacy.

    Your argument is well constructed, and I liked how you mentioned the financial incentive of the 10 grand to deter paparazzi from invading the privacy of these children. Money is always SOMEHOW woven into the law.

  2. Ryley at |

    I found your live-blog very interesting. I really liked how you took some of the important facts and information out of the article while also doing a good job of showing your own argument. Giving an example of Halle Berry was a strong point in this live blog.
    You did a good job of making it clear that the privacy of these children should not be violated based on their parents’ careers. I too agree with your argument because the paparazzi just does it for the money. It should not be allowed and is a continuing problem that needs to be stopped.
    Your concluding paragraph was a great way of wrapping all the information together, but explaining a clear solution to this problem would be a good idea. Maybe expressing what penalties should be taken towards the paparazzi would help the audience better understand your stance. Overall, the live-blog was very well put together and I look forward to reading more.
    -Ryley Angeline


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