Governor Schwarzenegger has signed a bill that would make it illegal for paparazzi to take unauthorized photos of stars in "personal or familial activity.'' But will this really curb our insatiable desire for pics of Megan Fox and other luminaries?
In a flurry of bill-signing yesterday, Schwarzenegger approved a measure to make the taking or selling of unauthorized photos a crime punishable by a $50,000 fine. The bill also allows lawsuits against media companies that publish such photos. As the ABC News clip above points out, Schwarzenegger himself has been the victim of paparazzi pursuit, and he signed another bill a few years ago that tripled the damages stars could receive if they sued paparazzi for assault. But of course, paparazzi are still chasing people, and it's doubtful whether this new bill will make much of a change either.
Parade editor Jeanne Wolf (who rocks a pretty impressive Kiss of the Spider Woman look above) tells ABC,
Everyone would applaud this law if in fact it did teach paparazzi how to be dignified in their treatment of celebrities and public figures. I don't see that happening right away. What I do see happening is a bunch of court cases.
Maybe said court cases will make paparazzi a little more careful — for a while. But as long as there's significant money to be made in the "undignified treatment" of celebrities, paparazzi are going to be as undignified as they have to be. And the truth is, they are only a very small part of America's fucked-up relationship to its actors, especially female ones. The publicity actually sanctioned by celebrities — the airbrushed covers and tedious interviews and faux-inspirational weight-loss photo shoots — is just as big a problem as paparazzi photos. The only difference is that such publicity asks us to look up to celebs, while some paparazzi pis ask us to mock them. The latter is more fun, especially given the boring, self-serving content of most celebrity profiles, but both contribute to the idea that we should be watching actors' every move. If said actors really wanted to combat this, they could stop giving interviews, posing in bikinis, and selling exclusive photos to favored magazines. Until they do, they send the message that fame is okay as long as they control every aspect of it — which is more than a little hypocritical.
Schwarzenegger Signs Tougher Anti-Paparazzi Law [AP]
Gov.'s Surprise Bill Signings: Harvey Milk Recognition, Paparazzi Restrictions And Ammo Tracking [LA Times]
Governor Signs New Anti-Paparazzi Law [ABC]