Popping the Paparazzi

As a journalist I'm naturally a big supporter of freedom of the press. But I'm not sure  that protecting photographers in pursuit of Lindsay Lohan exiting a restaurant is what the founding fathers had in mind when they inscribed it into our Bill of Rights. With the onslaught of tabloid media, competition for the exclusive photo has become intense to the point of endangering lives as these pseudo journalists seek the holy grail that could be worth more than $100,000 to the lucky "photographer?" 

I use the term "photographer" loosely. As reported in the LA Times, perhaps the most notorious of these is Todd K. Wallace who "was charged Oct. 7 with battery and child endangerment for allegedly disrupting a summer outing to a theme park by actress Reese Witherspoon and her children." Wallace has denied the charges claiming that "he was the victim of an anti-paparazzi vendetta by 'Hollywood power brokers."' 

And it gets worse: "One of the new paparazzi agencies is named for the Los Angeles street gang that the owner belonged to as a teenager; he said he trains other reformed gang members in the business. Other agencies use foreigners working on what some say are questionable visas. Photographers are hired less for their camera skills than their ability to navigate the rough-and-tumble of the celebrity chase, authorities say."

I've always maintained that celebrities who want privacy know how to achieve it. Robert De Niro is a good example of how one can keep a low profile while being a movie star at the same time. The others -- say Brad Pitt, Lindsay Lohan et al -- play a cat and mouse game with the press, living for the adoration and the attention yet wanting to control it when it suits their mood. I don't see how Brad Pitt can complain after sitting for 40 pages of photographs of him and Angelina Jolie at play with their manufactured family, before the ink is dry on his divorce papers. Come on, celebs, take some responsibility for the situation you're in. It didn't happen by itself.

photo of police checking photogs id in front of Koi restaurant from LA Times


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