October 30, 2007

Paparazzi, Beware! Hollywood Stars Have a Secret Weapon: Israeli Commandos

When Kevin Federline’s lawyer wanted to serve Britney Spears’s closest associates with subpoenas during the ill-fated duo’s recent custody battle, he hired a former Israeli commando to get the job done.

Veterans of Israeli special operations units have found lucrative careers
helping Hollywood stars fend off stalkers and paparazzi.

While this service may not have necessitated counter-terrorism expertise, the ex-Israeli operative who carried out the mission, Aaron Cohen, has built a career on the premise that protecting celebrities has more in common with nabbing Islamic radicals than may be apparent. Cohen, 31, is the founder of IMS Security — short for “Israeli Military Specialists” — a Los Angeles-based private security firm operating in the hostile territory of Hollywoodland.

A native of Beverly Hills, Cohen has parlayed his service in Duvdevan — an elite Israeli commando unit responsible for capturing, and sometimes killing, Palestinian militants in the West Bank — into a lucrative, niche business back in his hometown. Hiring Israelis culled exclusively from the Jewish state’s top four special operations units, Cohen oversees the only private security firm specializing in bringing Israeli-style protection to the upper reaches of stardom. Guarding the likes of Brad Pitt, Jackie Chan and Eva Longoria, to name but a few, Cohen — with a minimum retainer fee in the range of $20,000 and a day’s work costing up to $1,000 — has applied the principles he learned detaining terrorists to keeping aggressive paparazzi and the occasional celebrity stalker at bay.

“Stalking is a form of terror,” Cohen explained in an interview in Los Angeles’s Fairfax district, sipping a cup of strong black coffee. “The formula is a lot like counter-terrorism, because you need to see who you’re dealing with before you freak out.”

Read the rest of the article HERE.

Di crash paparazzi in hiding

LONDON: The first photographer on the scene of Princess Diana’s fatal crash has gone into hiding to avoid giving evidence at her inquest.

Legal sources now fear none of the paparazzi who chased Diana’s car will agree to testify.
Coroner Lord Justice Scott Baker had hoped to call them this week to speak via TV link to Paris.
But as foreign nationals living overseas they cannot be forced to appear at the High Court in London where the inquest is entering its fifth week.

Now Romuald Rat, known as ‘King Rat’ to fellow paparazzi, has gone further and disappeared so he could not formally be asked to attend.

He was one of 10 photographers arrested on suspicion of involuntary homicide and allegedly failing to help the stricken victims - but no charges were ever brought.

The photographers know that lawyers for Dodi Fayed’s father Mohamed, driver Henri Paul and the Ritz Hotel will try to blame them for harassing the car and being a major factor in the crash.

Rat, then working for the Gamma picture agency, reached the Alma tunnel soon after the Mercedes crashed. He had been a passenger on the back of a motorcycle and, witnesses say, he immediately began taking photos of the death scene. The court has heard allegations of photographers shouting to each other “Hurry up, she’s dead” and ordering those trying to help to get out of the way so they could do their “job”.
Rat has claimed that he tried to help the Princess but witnesses have also told the inquest how paparazzi had come within feet of the speeding car and - according to one suggestion - used a “blocking car” to force Paul to slow down as he sped from the Ritz to Dodi Fayed’s flat.

If the photographers fail to appear they will leave a hole in the first hand eye-witness evidence for the coroner and jury to decide what happened that night in August 1997. – London Evening Standard

October 26, 2007

Pitt's children are scared of paparazzi

Actor Brad Pitt has revealed that he and his partner Angelina Jolie are concerned about the level of media attention surrounding their children.

Pitt said that he doesn't like the fact that their four young children have to navigate a sea of cameras every time they leave their home.

The actor said: "They have this view that any time they go round the world there's this sea of people with cameras."

"This is their idea of the world they live in. My two-year-old (Zahara) hates it. Hates the cameras. It's a strange idea."

Speaking about the paparazzi, Pitt said: "It's out of hand and crosses all lines of decency."

"The kids didn't ask for this and it's frightening. They get right in the kids' faces with video cameras and yell their names."

October 25, 2007

Jessica Biel takes on the paparazzi

Jessica Biel launched a tirade of abuse at paparazzi yesterday.

The 25-year-old actress was in no mood to have her picture taken when she left a Santa Monica yoga studio, and began shouting at the waiting photographers.

She shouted at them to "not to get close" and "to get a real job".

The Illusionist star even reportedly tried to hit one snapper with her umbrella - in a move reminiscent of troubled singer Britney Spears' umbrella attack on a photographer's car in February this year.

It seems Jessica has been taking a few tips from boyfriend Justin Timberlake who has had his own run-ins with photographers in the past.

In September, the Sexy/Back singer lashed out at a paparazzo who tried to take a picture of Jessica as they arrived at a Beverly Hills hotel.

Justin also got into an altercation with another photographer when he jumped out at him and his then girlfriend Cameron Diaz outside Los Angeles' Chateau Marmont hotel in November 2004.

October 19, 2007

Britney Spears Appears to Hit Paparazzo

BEVERLY HILLS, Calif. (AP) - It might just be Britney Spears' latest hit.

Hours after losing child-visitation rights Thursday, the troubled pop star apparently ran over a photographer's foot with her car.

According to celebrity Web site Hollywood.TV, Spears was pulling out of a Beverly Hills medical building around 5 p.m. when the incident occurred.

Messages left late Thursday with Spears' attorney were not immediately returned. A police dispatcher in Beverly Hills said late Thursday no police report had been filed.

Video on the Web site is titled "The Unfortunate Foot Incident," but doesn't show the tire of Spears' car rolling over the cameraman's foot.

The video shows Spears beginning to pull out of a parking garage when her car is surrounded by more than a dozen photographers. The car comes to a stop.

Spears honks and the car lurches forward a few feet. Shouting is heard, and the camera jerks around as fellow photographers apparently help a man to his feet.

Spears drives off. Seconds later, the video shows what appears to be a tire mark on the unidentified paparazzo's sock. The man, wearing sandals with white socks, doesn't respond to questions from the cameraman and walks off without any apparent problems.

Earlier Thursday, Spears learned she was barred from visiting her young sons, who are in the custody of ex-husband Kevin Federline, until she complies with a court order, Superior Court Commissioner Scott Gordon ruled.

The order, dated Wednesday, does not spell out what directives Spears defied. A hearing in the matter was scheduled for Oct. 26.

Spears' apparent foot bender isn't the first time she's had trouble behind the wheel. She faces hit and run charges and driving without a valid license from an Aug. 6 wreck.

In that crash, paparazzi filmed Spears steering her car into another vehicle as she tried to turn into a spot in a Studio City parking lot. The video showed her walking away after assessing the damage to her own car.

Halle Berry fumes over ‘paparazzi’ crash

Oscar winner Halle Berry has accused the paparazzi of forcing her off the road while she was driving in Hollywood - two days after announcing she was pregnant.

The actress reveals she suddenly became a target after telling the world she was expecting her first child, but the army of photographers that started following her everywhere overstepped the mark when they caused her to crash into a wall.

She says, "I got into a car accident because the paparazzi chased me."

Berry was furious when the snappers stuck around after the accident to get photographs of her car being towed away - and then lied about the crash, so publications would print the pictures.

She fumes, "They said, ’Oh, Halle Berry’s car is being towed because she was illegally parked.’ No! It was crashed because the paparazzi chased me into a wall.

"There I was stuck with my crashed-up car wondering if this somehow impacted my pregnancy and feeling totally helpless and violated.

"I thought, ’Oh my God, I hope this jolt and this bang hasn’t done anything to me internally.’"

October 12, 2007

Jude Law Cleared of Paparazzi Assault

Actor Jude Law was cleared of charges he assaulted a paparazzi photographer outside his London home last month. Jude was initially arrested, questioned by police and released on bail. The case was forwarded to the state prosecutors – the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) – for further deliberation.

"The police have told me that they and the CPS have examined the photographer's allegation extremely carefully and made the decision that there is no further action to be taken," Jude told People. "Of course I'm delighted to be vindicated."

Jude should be breathing a huge sigh of relief. With the way celebs have been heading to the slammer these days, he got lucky. He is waaaay too pretty to go to survive in jail.

'Grey's' star gets letter from paparazzi

Former Grey's Anatomy star Kate Walsh was amazed to receive a note from paparazzi urging her against erecting a wall outside her LA home.

The actress - who played Dr. Addison Montgomery in the ABC drama - wanted to shield the property she shares with new husband Alex Young from snappers waiting across the street.

She said: "We're building up our front wall for some privacy and we got a note from one of the paparazzi in the mailbox, saying 'We noticed you're going to build up your wall, but we wanted to tell you that you don't need to. You should just put some more shrubs in and then we can't get a good picture. Signed, The Paparazzi'."

October 9, 2007


Members of the NYC Paparazzi donated five cases of Campbell's Chili, a case of Gold Medal white flour and a case of playing cards to the Bowery Mission.

During a taping of The Late Show with David Letterman, at the Ed Sullivan Theater, crew members were throwing bowls of chili, fluorescent bulbs, playing cards, flour and various other oddities of the roof of the theater (see photo). Chili and paint were strewn throughout the street as they descended seven stories towards the ground.

Having finished the taping, stagehands began to throw away cases of leftover chili and flour into a giant green dumpster.

Quick thinking photographers secured the cases of food before being discarded. "Why throw out perfectly good food. We're giving this to the Bowery Mission", one photographer proclaimed.

And so they did. Packed into the back of the car went the goods, where it was warmly received by a smiling staff at the Bowery Mission. "This gift will feed dinner to 360 men at the mission. Thank you!".

The mission was also happy to receive a case of playing cards that was also rescued from disposal. You guys are Aces in my book!

If you would like to learn more about the Bowery Mission, CLICK HERE.

October 5, 2007

Photogs Tail Prince William in Car Chase

LONDON (AP) - Paparazzi aggressively pursued Prince William and his girlfriend early Friday as they left a nightclub, speeding through the streets of London after photographing the couple, the prince's spokesman said.

The chase coincided with the start of an inquiry this week into his mother's death in a 1997 car crash after being pursued by photographers.

British newspapers on Friday ran pictures of William and Kate Middleton, both 25, in a car after leaving a London nightclub in the early hours. "Threatening" paparazzi then chased the couple in their car, Paddy Harverson said.

"Having already been photographed leaving the club, he and Kate Middleton were then pursued in his car by photographers on motorcycles, in vehicles and on foot. The aggressive pursuit was potentially dangerous and worrying for them," Harverson said.

The photos of the couple were published in the same week as pictures of William's mother, Princess Diana, leaving the Ritz Hotel in Paris in 1997, as part of the inquest into her death. The inquiry is charged with determining how Diana came to die with her boyfriend Dodi Fayed in a car crash while being pursued by paparazzi.

Harverson said it "seems incomprehensible, particularly at this time, that this behavior is still going on."

William and Middleton met at St. Andrews University in Scotland and dated for several years, but announced their split in April as speculation swirled that they were about to marry. Middleton had been pursued by photographers outside her London home and nightclubs in scenes that drew comparisons to the coverage of Diana.

Newspapers reported this summer that the pair had rekindled their romance.


Hey everyone...

So I just got back from vacation and found out that there is a new way the 'list' is being handled.

No more two hour/four hour policy.

The new rules are as follows:

  • First person to arrive starts a list for the event.
  • The list is passed unto the hands of the next person to arrive, at which point this person is now the caretaker of the list. The first person is now free to go.
  • The new caretaker cannot leave until he/she is relieved by another person willing to sign, stay and watch the list. Do not sign the list if you do not intent to stay until you are relieved by another photographer.
  • Everyone whose name is on the list must be present 1 hour before the event to ensure placement, for it is at this point that the list will be called. Not present=no spot.
It's a hand me down method. Pretty straightforward and it seems to be working so far.
I think Carmen put it best by saying, "No more jury duty sentence!".

If you want to relive the good ol' days when we were all hammering out our opinions about 2 hours vs. 4 hours, CLICK HERE.

October 2, 2007

Publicist's death delivers headlines

David Hans Schmidt's life of sordidness 'was a big mess,' brother says

The sheer number of magazines and Hollywood TV shows reveals the public's fascination with the activities of celebrities. But beyond that is a morbid fascination with celebrities caught in scandals or, literally, with their pants down. It is that darker, sleazier place that provided an occupation for Phoenix publicist David Hans Schmidt.

Want to see topless photos of a woman who said she had an affair with President Bill Clinton? How about the prostitute who was picked up by actor Hugh Grant? Want to see the X-rated wedding-night video of Tonya Harding, the Olympic ice skater who had her rival clubbed? Or see the guy who played Screech in the TV show Saved by the Bell star in a pornographic movie? Schmidt figured you did. And over the course of his 15-year career as a merchant of sleaze, he delivered.

Schmidt carved out a unique career, riding media controversies from his office some 350 miles east of Hollywood. He boasted about living a high life from the deals that put second-rate stars into Playboy and Penthouse. He openly solicited photographs and videos of stars, hoping to cash in on their sale. He bragged to reporters about the restaurants he would dine in, the cars he would drive, the names he could drop.

But in the end, Schmidt might have been his best client, hiding what his twin brother, Doug, described as a lifelong depression behind that air of bravado and opulence.

Schmidt was found dead in his townhouse Friday. The depression was something he hid behind a high-energy, take-no-prisoners public persona.

CLICK HERE to read the rest of the article.

Brad Pitt Speaks Out About Paparazzi Irritation

Hollywood superstar Brad Pitt has dubbed the paparazzi "the defining annoyance of my life".

Pitt has spoken out about his life amid the flashbulbs, admitting all the attention he and his family has to deal with has left the four kids he and partner Angelina Jolie share confused about life.

And the actor worries about the effect constant exposure to the paparazzi will have on them.

He says, "I just think how strange it is for my kids. Mad (Maddox), Z (Zahara), Pax - they really believe that every time you go outside there is a herd of people with cameras snapping flashes in your face, who are going to block your way when you're trying to get somewhere.

"That is their vision of the world outside. Very strange, isn't it? It's an everyday thing for them. They don't really see it as bad or good.

"Z will point and go, 'Cameras!' Pax will point and say, 'People!' Maddox is keen to where his parents are coming from. I don't want them to be tensing up, and I don't want them to see of feel any kind of threat.

"But man, when photographers cross the line, you know - if it happened to one of your kids, it's hard not to want to take them down." (c) WENN

Keith Urban Crashes Motorcycle After Being Chased By Photographer

SYDNEY, Australia (October 1, 2007) – Keith Urban was involved in a motorcycle accident on Sunday after the country star was allegedly being chased bya paparazzo.
In a statement released to Access Hollywood, Urban said he was headed to an Alcoholics Anonymous meeting on his motorcycle in Sydney when he found himself being pursued by a photographer.
“Today’s incident was the result of one person’s desire to do his job and my desire to maintain my privacy. Some have already attempted to inflate the facts, but the reality is this; while out riding to an AA meeting, a time when my privacy is especially important to me, I felt myself being pursued. I sped up, and in an effort to elude an oncoming car which was making an illegal u-turn, saw no choice but to drop my bike,” Urban said in the statement. “In actual fact, my pursuer came to my assistance, without taking photos, and helped me from the road. I returned home, got my car, and continued on my way.”
Urban entered a rehab facility for alcohol treatment in October 2006. He completed the program in January 2007.
Urban married Nicole Kidman in June 2006.