Celebrities were once untouchable, elusive icons, unbeknownst to the average person as they existed in a mysterious world of glitz and glam – a luxury world separate from that of society. Spotting a celebrity in public, going about their day-to-day, was an exhilarating experience as they often operated behind closed doors. A celebrity spotting was like winning a golden ticket. This rarity morphed the notion of “Hollywood” into an intangible idea, rather than the destination atop the hills and winding roads of Los Angeles, California. But, this version of Hollywood is long gone – the Golden Age of Hollywood is simply no more.
The rise in smartphones and social media has simultaneously birthed a culture of consumption and immediate satisfaction, thus resulting in overly aggressive paparazzies and a disregard for the privacy of celebrities. Despite their profession, stars deserve to feel a sense of safety as they attempt to exist as normally as possible. Paparazzies go to extreme measures to capture every waking moment of a star’s life, only to turn over their photos to the endless variety of tabloids in hopes of profit. Information on celebrities is readily accessible at our fingertips, at any given moment: the latest in their divorce or the specific salad they ate today. This accessibility, combined with the nature of paparazzies, has worked to remove the sparkle that once inadvertently orbited the rich and famous.
Awarding stars a sense of privacy and safety would restore the elusiveness of Hollywood that the vast majority of the public doesn’t even know they’re missing. The only way to restore what has since been lost would be to do away with professional stalking altogether. Right now, it is nearly impossible for a star to maintain the allusion of flawlessness, as their mistakes are documented from the moment they step out their front door. Every drunken night, outfit malfunction, messy breakup, or temper tantrum is now captured and shared through the lens of a paparazzi.
Supermodel, Gigi Hadid, is now being sued for posting a photo of herself on Instagram without properly crediting the photographer. Hadid recently lashed back, stating that she came across the photo on Twitter with no photographer listed. The model’s frustration stems from thedifficulty in celebrities even leaving their homes. Hadid and so many others recognize they have given up certain privileges, but are tired of the legality of being stalked. Being followed takes a mental and emotional toll on a person- a sensation rarely considered by most. Mental health in this case is overlooked because the constitution cannot distinguish between fame and obscurity.
Kendall Jenner, supermodel and reality TV star, is also making recent headlines as she calls out popular gossip site, TMZ. The gossip site released Jenner’s home address, resulting in a slew of paparazzi, stalker, and curious fan to show up on her property. Jenner was infuriated, stating, “I understand what I’ve signed up for, but when you release the exact location to where I live, THAT is when you’re putting my life in danger.” For us, our home is a safe haven, a sanctuary from the outside world, but for high profile celebrities, the paparazzi has turned their one supposed safe space into anything but.
London, England underwent policy changes following the tragic car accident and death of the beloved, Princess Diana. Despite other circumstances, the paparazzi is mostly blamed for her death as they were dangerously pursuing her vehicle at reckless speeds in an effort to capture just a single photo. ThePress Complaints Commission is a self-regulating body in the United Kingdom whose responsibility is to provide a code of conduct for those who cover celebrities. After the death of Princess Diana, the PCC added this clause:“Journalists must not engage in intimidation, harassment, or persistent pursuit. They must not persist in questioning, telephoning, pursuing, or photographing individuals once asked to desist; nor remain on their property when asked to leave and must not follow them. If requested, they must identify themselves and whom they represent.”
The United States passed anti-paparazzi laws as well, but it is impossible to incorporate an appropriate revision that would account for modern technology and ensure celebrity safety.
Introducing a law similar to the PCC’s clause would effectively eliminate dangerous paparazzi tactics, ultimately rewarding American stars with much-deserved privacy. Celebrities give up certain expectations when they choose to pursue their career path, but there is a line and the modern-day paparazzi have crossed it. If there were a way to eliminate the paparazzi profession altogether, without infringing on one’s constitutional rights, that would indeed be the most viable option.