Should Lawmakers Protect Celebrities’ Children From the Paparazzi?
Halle Berry and Jennifer Garner definitely think so. The actresses and mothers testified at the California State Capitol in Sacramento this week in support of a new bill that would better protect their children from what they say are swarming and dangerous photographers. Senate Bill 606, which changes the legal definition of harassment to include photographing or recording a child without the permission of a legal guardian, ultimately passed, despite newspaper publishers expressing concern that it could inhibit them from doing their jobs.
Berry, who is currently pregnant with her second child, told the committee at the hearing that during a custody battle with the father of her 5-year-old daughter, the camera-carrying paparazzi would even yell awful questions at her kid like, “You may not see your father again. How do you feel about that?”
Garner, who has three young children with husband Ben Affleck, teared up during her testimony, saying “I chose a public life … [but] my three children are private citizens. I love my kids. They’re beautiful and sweet and innocent, and I don’t want a gang of shouting, arguing, lawbreaking photographers who camp out everywhere we are all day every day to continue traumatizing my kids.” She also expressed concern that stalkers (of whom she’s had a few) are able to easily hide behind the paparazzi and therefore pose even more danger to her family.
Taking that into account, I personally don’t see how this bill is a bad thing if it keeps children safe. Even famous ones. However, I seem to be in the minority in my opinion as most internet commenters on this story think the celebrities asked for this life and being mobbed by paparazzi is simply the price they pay for being in the public eye. They go on to say that the stars use pictures of their kids to their advantage when it’s convenient, so why should they get to make the rules? And if they don’t like it, they should just hire someone to take their children to preschool.
All somewhat valid (albeit anonymous and vitriolic) points, to be sure, but still. How is it okay for grown men to yell awful things at little children in hopes of getting a good reaction shot to sell to a magazine? Or to chase a car with a child sitting in the back seat? Or for a mother to not drop-off her child at preschool because it’ll draw an unruly crowd?
I think all children deserve protection under the law no matter how famous their parents are. What do you think?