Justin Bieber paparazzo killed: Lessons from this tragedy?
Justin Bieber paparazzo killed: On Tuesday, a photographer was killed by a vehicle while chasing pop star Justin Bieber. In today's celebrity-driven culture, how can paparazzo tragedies like this be avoided?
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He said lawmakers should simply have increased the penalties for reckless driving rather than targeting celebrity photographers. "Hypothetically," Rubinson said, "wedding photographers or even photographers rushing to a portrait shoot with a celebrity could face additional penalties if charged under the new law," according to The San Francisco Chronicle.Skip to next paragraph
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Since the death of Princess Diana, paparazzi and their subjects have struggled with questions of privacy and restrictions. How much privacy can a celebrity reasonably expect? Should tabloid photographers be given the same freedom-of-press protections as news photographers? Should entertainers, who often actively court publicity, be allowed to circumscribe when such attention is inappropriate?
According to CBS, the Royal Family attempted to tackle some of these questions by striking an unofficial deal with the paparazzi. Photographers would be given access to candid moments in return for a ban on long lenses in situations where members of the Royal Family could expect a reasonable amount of privacy.
The new policy produced some unforgettable photo ops, like Prince William and Kate Middleton’s wedding balcony kiss, but even a compromise between photographers and celebrities may only go so far. In today’s information age, where anyone with a smartphone is essentially both photographer and publisher, even the Royals can’t escape embarrassing photographs. For example, the nude photos taken of Prince Harry in Las Vegas this September were shot with a cell phone and apparently his knowledge.
Bieber, for one, is now calling for more legislation governing the interaction between photographers and their subjects. On Wednesday morning he released a statement expressing regret over the incident:
“While I was not present nor directly involved with this tragic accident, my thoughts and prayers are with the family of the victim. Hopefully this tragedy will finally inspire meaningful legislation and whatever other necessary steps to protect the lives and safety of celebrities, police officers, innocent public bystanders and the photographers themselves."
As long as the public craves photos of celebrities, and photographers can make money satisfying that craving, paparazzi will pursue the money shot. Legislation isn't likely to deter all reckless behavior. But perhaps in the wake of this tragedy, the paparazzi will pause, at least momentarily, before crossing the boundaries of decency and safety.