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.
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?