April 29, 2008

How Much Money Do the Paparazzi Make?

Katie Holmes, Suri, Paparazzi INFDaily.com

I've got a question for you: How much do the paparazzi really make?
—Taylor, Minnesota

The biggest money comes from exclusive shots of international stars—Brangelina, Johnny Depp—going about their everyday A-list business. Good photos can sell over and over again, from South America to Australia, earning a smart paparazzo up to $500,000 yearly.

Mediocre paparazzi, however, make about as much as a school guidance counselor. They scrape along on common, $250-a-pop photos of Britney or Lauren Conrad. They're the guys always "chasing" Heidi Montag, snapping away as she grimaces through "romances" and "feuds."

On very rare occasions, there's a jackpot photo, a six-figure photo, one that every paparazzo wants. Right now, that one superphoto is...can you guess?

Why, it's the first picture of Brangelina's unborn, of course!

"If it isn't a setup shot," supposes veteran photographer Brad Elterman of Buzz Foto, "and they were strolling down the street with the kids, and it's exclusive and the first, you're talking easily a million bucks for the U.S. rights alone."

Overseas markets could bring in a few more mil, Elterman adds.

Then again, the incipient Brangie baby may already have an exclusive first-sitting deal with People magazine à la Shiloh and J.Lo's Max and Emme. So a dream payday for a paparazzo in that case is highly unlikely.

"A lot of being a good paparazzo is luck," explains Gary Morgan of Splash News. "It's nine hours of boredom and 30 seconds of excitement."

And many, many days tracking the totally authentic exploits of Speidi.

April 23, 2008

Tribeca Film Festival Vanity Flop Party

Vanity Fair Party
Supreme Court House, 7p
April 22, 2008

Now I know why they don't send out a tip sheet for this event. If Vanity Fair did send one out, no press would show up. This event has fallen off over the last few years, but this year was by far the worst.

Every year it's the same people: Bowie/Iman, McEnroe, Regis... uggghh! Here's a tip for VF, change your invitation list and maybe other people will show up!

When the biggest surprise at the event is that DeNiro actually posed for photos, you know something's wrong...

April 17, 2008

Britney Spears' Paparazzi Ex Stabbed

Adnan Ghalib, Britney Spears former boy toy, has been attacked and stabbed by an unidentified assailant. Apparently the 36-year-old U.K. born paparazzo received a big shiner, facial lacerations and a stab wound to his arm when he was attacked in LA on Saturday night.

Various reports have stated that Ghalib received medical attention and is doing "all right" following the ordeal. Several papers have reported that Ghalib has been receiving a number of death threats in the past few weeks, but no one knows yet if this incident is connected.

If one checks out the gossip blogs, there are a lot of vitriolic words spewing out about Adnan. And someone may have decided to take action and make their hate real. The list of likely suspects seems long, with Ghalib’s ex-wife and Sam Lutfi both fierce Adnan haters. The LA County Sheriff and the LAPD don’t have a record of the incident though, and Adnan Ghalib hasn’t given an official statement about the incident yet.

Adnan Ghalib and Britney Spears went their separate ways after they had a confrontation about his cheating on her. Spears peaked at his iPhone and saw text messages from another woman. They had a huge argument, and then she tossed his cell phone in the pool. At least Britney Spears had the smarts to get rid of a guy who would cheat on her. Just recently, a true gentleman, Adnan Ghalib had been telling his pals that he slipped “one by the goalie”. Real class.

One of his friends reportedly told Star, “Britney is Adnan's dream come true. He knows that if he has a child with Brit, he'll be made for life.” Let’s hope for Brit's sake that her steers clear of that one from now on.

April 13, 2008

Paparazzi Accused of Supplying Drugs to Heath Ledger

A lawsuit issued Friday accuses a photo agency of supplying Ledger’s drugs in 2006 in order to take pictures of him using.

A lawsuit was filed Friday against the Los Angeles-area Splash News & Picture Agency for allegedly supplying actor Heath Ledger with cocaine two years ago in order to secretly videotape him using the drug, according to Reuters. Footage of the Ledger encounter, aired briefly after the young actor’s death in January, prompted an outcry in Hollywood.

The lawsuit claimed the video has generated more than $1 million in revenues through illegal paparazzi activity. California state law requires paparazzi to disgorge such profits.

Ledger, who died of an accidental overdose on prescription drugs in his New York apartment on January 22, was widely reported to have struggled with substance abuse. The plaintiff of the lawsuit is anonymous, referred to as Jane Doe, the former freelance reporter for People Magazine.

Reuters reports that she claims to have been an unwitting accomplice to the two photographers that paid for Ledger’s cocaine, one of whom she was dating at the time.

Her attorney was quoted as saying, “This is bad stuff. You don’t give drug addicts drugs so you can then tape them.”

April 8, 2008

L.A. police chief says paparazzi law unenforceable

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - The Los Angeles police chief on Tuesday said a proposed new city law aimed at protecting celebrities from aggressive paparazzi would be ambiguous and impossible to enforce.

Chief William Bratton said in a report that existing laws on jaywalking, speeding and assault could be used to deter aggressive photographers, whose 'round-the-clock pursuit of singer Britney Spears and other celebrities prompted calls for a crackdown.

Los Angeles councilman Dennis Zine proposed creating a "personal safety zone" to regulate paparazzi shortly after city police in January spent $25,000 to escort Spears from her home across town to a psychiatric unit in the middle of the night.

The police said roadblocks and an escort by at least a dozen motorcycles and squad cars were needed to prevent photographers from documenting what became the second trip by the troubled pop star to the hospital in a month.

The ploy instead gave news helicopters and the world media lengthy television pictures of the Spears' convoy.

Zine, a former police officer, said the Los Angeles paparazzi were becoming increasingly aggressive and posed a danger both to Hollywood stars and members of the public.

Celebrities like Spears and Paris Hilton are staked out 24 hours a day, and sometimes pursued in high speed car chases by dozens of paparazzi whose numbers in Los Angeles have swelled to between 300-400 from about 25 some 15 years ago.

Zine suggested creating a minimum "personal safety zone" of several feet of clear space between paparazzi and the individuals they are photographing. The proposed law has yet to be debated by the city council.

Bratton said however that the proposal raised questions about who is classified as a "celebrity" or "paparazzo," whether the LAPD is showing favoritism toward stars and whether the general public is entitled to the same protection.

He said it would "create an inequitable and ambiguous code that would likely be unenforceable."

Zine called Bratton's comments premature and vowed to pursue his proposal.

"We need specific sections (of the law) dealing with the paparazzi," Zine told reporters.

"What do we do the next time Britney Spears has to go to the hospital? Do we spend another $25,000 and (deploy) those police resources that are stretched so far?," he said.

An inquest in London ruled on Monday that Britain's Princess Diana and her lover Dodi al-Fayed were unlawfully killed by the grossly negligent driving of their chauffeur and paparazzi photographers pursuing them into a Paris road tunnel 10 years ago.

Los Angeles police recommend against law restricting paparazzi

LOS ANGELES - The Los Angeles Police Department is recommending that the City Council scrap a proposal to create a new law limiting activities of paparazzi around celebrities.

Cmdr. Kirk Albanese told the city Police Commission today that enough laws are in place to restrict photographers if their behavior around celebrities creates a safety problem, and the proposed law would be unfair and hard to enforce.

Among the proposals is creation of so-called personal safety zones around celebrities.

The civilian Police Commission voted to approve the recommendation and forward it to the City Council.

April 7, 2008

Jury blames driver, paparazzi for Princess Diana's death

LONDON A coroner's jury ruled today that Princess Diana and boyfriend Dodi Fayed were unlawfully killed through the reckless actions of their driver and the paparazzi in 1997.

The jury had been told that a verdict of unlawful killing would mean that they believed the reckless behavior of the driver and paparazzi amounted to manslaughter. It was the most serious verdict available to them.

The couple died in Paris when their speeding car slammed into a concrete pillar while it was being chased by photographers in cars and on motorbikes. The jury added that the fact that Diana and Dodi were not wearing seatbelts was a contributing factor.

The coroner, Lord Justice Scott Baker, had instructed the jury that there was no evidence to support claims by Fayed's father, Mohamed Al Fayed, that the couple were victims of a murder plot directed by Prince Philip and carried out by British secret agents. The jury was not at liberty to disagree.

The six women and five men on the jury began deliberating April 2 after hearing six months of testimony from more than 240 witnesses. They also went to Paris to see the scene of the Aug. 31, 1997 crash.

The cost of the inquest itself, including lawyers and staff assisting the coroner, has exceeded $6 million.

Baker had expressed hope that the inquest would lay to rest, once and for all, any false theories about the princess' death.

Dodi Fayed died instantly when the couple's Mercedes, moving in excess of 60 mph, slammed into a concrete pillar in the Alma underpass in Paris at 12:22 a.m. Medics initially thought Diana would survive her severe injuries, but she died at a hospital around 4 a.m.

The paparazzi who pursued the couple were vilified. As grieving Britons piled up flowers outside Diana's Kensington Palace home, some British newspapers declared they would never use another paparazzi shot — a vow that proved time-limited.

French police announced a day after the crash that tests on driver Henri Paul's blood showed he was three times over the national drunk-driving standard.

April 6, 2008

Focusing on 'The New Paparazzi'

This month, a paparazzo's picture of Britney Spears appeared on the cover of the venerable Atlantic Monthly - the 150-year-old magazine that published Emerson and Twain and Hawthorne - which caused an outbreak of hand-wringing and brow-furrowing among the sort of people who habitually keep an eye out for signs of the incipient fall of Western civilization.

Britney on the cover of the Atlantic - another omen of the apocalypse?

Relax, hand-wringers, the Atlantic has not become a cheesy checkout tabloid. The April issue contains no celebrity diet tips, no Brangelina updates, nothing to interfere with your enjoyment of Christopher Hitchens' literary essay on Ezra Pound. And the cover story isn't really about Britney. It's about the photographers who stalk her, chronicling the soap opera of her horrific descent into madness.

"Between 30 and 45 paparazzi work Britney on any given night," writes David Samuels, a veteran magazine writer with a sharp eye for the ridiculous. "History's best-publicized celebrity meltdown has helped fuel dozens of television shows, magazines and Internet sites, the combined value of whose Britney-related product easily exceeds $100 million a year."

Samuels spent several long days and nights with what he calls "the new paparazzi." These are not the grizzled tabloid photographers of yore. Many are young Brazilian immigrants who were working as pizza deliverers and valet parkers until they were recruited as Britney-stalkers by Francois Navarre, the French photographer who founded X17, Hollywood's biggest paparazzi agency. It was an X17 photographer who shot the famous photo of Britney shaving her head in an L.A. hair salon. Another X17 shooter snapped the picture of an enraged Britney attacking his SUV with an umbrella.

Samuels hung around with the X17 shooters while they hung around waiting for Britney to stop hanging around her house and take a ride in her white Mercedes. When she did, they followed her through Los Angeles. One afternoon, they chased the Mercedes "at a scarily high speed" while Britney blared her new album on the car stereo and sang along.

One day, a mob of 50 paparazzi loitered outside a Los Angeles courthouse, waiting for Britney to show up at a child-custody hearing. A passerby spotted them and yelled, "Leave that poor, poor girl alone."

It was the voice of reason, but of course the photographers ignored it. They were too busy working to fulfill America's pathetic desire to watch high-flying superstars crash and burn.