June 25, 2008
The violence between paparazzi and Malibu residents that broke out in two incidents during the past weekend, and then became international news when videos were posted on the Internet and broadcast in the mainstream media, has resulted in a press conference being called for Wednesday this week at City Hall at 5 p.m. City councilmember Jefferson Wagner said that possibly Kenneth Starr, dean of Pepperdine University School of Law, will attend and speak about the city's efforts to curb the infringement of personal and private property rights. The city had asked Starr and other legal experts in May to help draft a new ordinance that would restrict the harassment of local residents by paparazzi.
Criminal complaints have also been filed from both camps in the altercations, said Detective Sgt. James Royal of the Lost Hills/Malibu Sheriff's Station.
"[There are] allegations and counter allegations," Royal said, adding that Sheriff's detectives are interviewing witnesses and victims, as well as viewing videos of the incidents.
The first fracas took place on Saturday at about 2 p.m. when a group of residents and local surfers confronted a group of about 12 paparazzi at what is known as Little Dume Beach. Armed with video and still cameras with telephoto lenses, the celebrity photographers were attempting to capture images of actor Matthew McConaughey, who was surfing at Little Dume.
Eyewitnesses say a group of about 15 young men and some women walked south along the beach to confront the paparazzi. The photographers redirected their cameras from McConaughey to the approaching group. The men and women told the paparazzi that they were not welcome and insisted they leave. The paparazzi refused to leave and the confrontation escalated into taunting, foul language, physical threats and ultimately physical violence, as the videos posted online show.
The online videos also show several of the surfers holding what appear to be cans and/or bottles of beer.
One beachgoer who witnessed the altercation, but did not want to be identified, explained the local resident side of the confrontation: "The paparazzi were there to shoot and harass Matthew McConaughey, who just wanted to go surfing and chill out with his pregnant girlfriend on the beach. He has to ignore them because if he confronts them, they just egg him on and try to blow up the situation and make him look dumb, like they did with Steve Guttenberg while he was jogging. The paparazzi heckle people so they can't have a life and it's not fair. It's not fair to be on your own in your backyard and want to be hanging out with your friends. We told them to leave, and they didn't leave and it blew up from there."
At one point, one of the paparazzi allegedly pulled a knife and threatened the group of residents, inspiring a full-scale brawl between the residents and paparazzi. Video of this incident shows two surfers chasing a paparazzo down to the water's edge, and it appears that a video camera went into the water. After the initial altercation ended, the paparazzi were again asked to leave. The violence escalated again when a paparazzi and one of the surfers exchanged blows - the surfer using his hand, the paparazzi using a metal tripod. Several of the paparazzi recorded these fights with video cameras, and within a couple of hours, edited video appeared on the www.tmz.com and http://x17online.com/ Web sites.
Neither of two videos posted online shows the entire confrontation, but one of the individuals involved claimed that a paparazzi video camera was thrown in the water, one suffered a broken nose, and that several of the residents received moderate injuries.
On Sunday, the paparazzi returned to Malibu, this time with what witnesses described as a "security force" of "martial arts bad asses." The paparazzi boldly walked up the beach, daring anyone to confront them, witnesses said. A security guard from a local homeowner's group was sent to the beach in anticipation of trouble. The paparazzi photographed and recorded from the beach and bluff side, and were told to leave several times by the guard. The video from this Sunday incident also was shown on TMZ and elsewhere. The video shows the paparazzi walking south down the beach, trading insults with beachgoers at a spot close to Paradise Cove called The Hut. At some point, another fight broke out at the water's edge.
According to various witnesses, one of the paparazzi kicked one of the residents in the head, and another was backed down to the beach by a girlfriend of one of the residents. One of the video clips shows a paparazzi shaking water out of an expensive video camera, and the Los Angeles Times reported that $13,000 worth of cameras were destroyed.
According to the local residents, the local Sheriff's station was alerted to this incident as it was developing. The paparazzi, as seen on one of the videos, called to file a report. In the video, two people are shown being driven away in a Sheriff's car. However, L.A. County Sheriff spokesman Steve Whitmore said "There were no arrests. Those two people in the back of the Sheriff's vehicle were alleged victims who were giving their reports."
City Councilmember Jefferson Wagner, who is also a local surfer and has known some of the surfers seen in the videos since they were toddlers, said of the incidents, "It's a pretty sad event, that [something like this] comes to fist cuffs and physical violence, involving free speech [on behalf of the paparazzi] and property rights [of local residents.]"
Wagner has received dozens of e-mails, many critical of the locals involved. One person asked, "Are the beaches in Malibu safe? I see all these drunken surfers and fights on TV."
Wagner responded, "Be aware that the video of this fracas was edited before being displayed on the Internet. The video editor's intention was to sway the viewers into believing that there was an unruly beach gang. I know many of the individuals in the footage and they do not resort to violence."
Legislation in the works
Regarding the effort to draft legislation to protect Malibu residents, Wagner said the idea of instituting some sort of business licensing requirement for paparazzi to photograph in Malibu has been discussed.
"The paparazzi sell photos, that is commerce," he said. "What they are doing is commerce on the beach."
State law requires that anyone photographing for commercial purposes on state or public land, whether for compensation or not, must file for a permit, as well as provide a certificate of insurance. However, "breaking news" coverage is protected by the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, and does not require a permit.
Wagner suggested if legislation is rephrased so that paparazzi are required to file for a permit to shoot, then they "will all line up ... [and] at least we'll know who they are, so we will have legal recourse if they violate laws."
Monday morning Malibu Mayor Pamela Conley-Ulich issued an official press release on the subject: "Any new ordinance must be in harmony with the First Amendment free speech rights, which are so important. I am hopeful we can develop and implement an effective strategy that will address outstanding public safety concerns and balance those concerns against protected First Amendment activities and commercial activities."
Meanwhile, residents are dismayed and frustrated by the weekend's events.
Heather Gardner, a teacher at Malibu High School, was at the beach on Saturday and witnessed the altercations from a distance. She said she was dealing with a paparazzo intrusion of her own when a female photographer had invaded her and a friend's beach space while attempting to take photos of McConaughey's pregnant girlfriend Camila Alves.
"This never has happened," Gardner said. "I go all time to the beach. This is the first time I've really seen massive paparazzi ... because Matthew McConaughey started surfing closer to here."
Sgt. Royal confirmed the rarity of the incidents: "[It was] very unusual ... the way events unfolded."
Gardner added, "They have no respect for common people or the people they're taking photos of. They just want the $50,000 for photos ..."
A paparazzi photographer has sued Woody Harrelson for US$2.5 million, after the actor allegedly assaulting him and smashed his video camera during an incident in June 2006.
Josh Levine filed the lawsuit in the Los Angeles Superior Court on Friday (June 20), in which he alleges that Harrelson attempted to choke him in the scuffle before breaking his video camera and ordering his security to get involved.
According to the documents, Levine says he continues to suffer mental, physical and emotional pain as a result of the run-in. He is also suing Harrelson’s bodyguard.
June 23, 2008
One pap was hit in the face and we're told suffered a broken nose, while another was thrown into some rocks and had his camera smashed. McConaughey was not involved in the ruckus.
Police tell us a battery report was filed by one photographer but no arrests have been made.
June 21, 2008
Sienna Miller has admitted that lashing out at the paparazzi is hard to avoid for many celebrities.
The Edge of Love star, who shot to fame once she began dating Jude Law, is now a greatly-respected actress but no less hounded by the tabloid press.
And having made the headlines recently over her breakup with Rhys Ifans, Miller has explained that press attention can be difficult to handle.
Speaking on Friday Night with Jonathan Ross, she said: "If you take away the cameras, it's weird.
"They shout 'slut'. They do things that you'll react to, and I'm defensive, they do provoke you, it's not fun."
Like many celebrities, the 26-year-old is repeatedly followed by the paparazzi, with Otis Ferry - son of Roxy Music frontman Bryan Ferry - in court recently after stealing the car keys of a snapper who had pursued he and Miller away from a club.
However Miller, a graduate of the Lee Strasberg Institute in New York, said she avoids reading the papers if she can help it.
And when asked about the reporting of her split with Ifans, she said: "I hear it's been a bad week."
"There'll be grains of truth, but it's massively exaggerated," she added.
Miller can currently be seen alongside Keira Knightley and Matthew Rhys in The Edge of Love.
A paparazzi agency, accused of deliberately giving cocaine to late actor Health Ledger, and then secretly taping him at a SAG party in 2006, wants the lawsuit filed against them to be dismissed.
A paparazzi agency, accused of deliberately giving cocaine to late actor Health Ledger, and then secretly taping him at a SAG party in 2006, wants the lawsuit filed against them to be dismissed.
The attorneys for Splash News are asking to dismiss the filed by a woman identified only as Jane Doe, as there is not enough evidence to support some of her allegations, while other claims weren't filed before the statute of limitations expired, reports E! Online
The plaintiff claims that she was also caught on the tape, which was shot in her hotel room without her consent, and is seeking damages for fraud, intrusion, infliction of emotional distress and privacy violations.
However, Splash lawyers claim that her face was "blurred out" in the footage and therefore her privacy has not been violated.
They said that other parts of her claim are false because she "has improperly attempted to assert the rights of a dead celebrity within her complaint."
The agency lawyers have also filed papers requesting removal of Los Angeles Superior Court Judge John P. Shook, on the grounds he is prejudiced against the agency.
The lawsuit states that, one of the photogs "gave Ledger a package of cocaine. Mr. Ledger also had some of his own. The cocaine was put on the table [in a hotel room reserved by the plaintiff], and the men began snorting cocaine."
Ledger did not know that the second Splash photographer was "outside our hotel room, on the balcony, hidden, shooting video footage of everyone in the room," the suit continues.
When he did discover he was being taped, Ledger got angry and he was promised the tape would be destroyed, the suit says.
Rocker John Mayer has slammed photographers for hounding him and his actress girlfriend Jennifer Aniston. Mayer reportedly started seeing the former “Friends” star in April and they have been in the limelight ever since, contactmusic.com reported.
He said: “It’s so rosy… (but its) these moments (of being chased by photographers) that are not at all rosy, are seemingly earthquakes of frustration and anxiety.”
Mayer still did not confirm that he and Aniston are involved.
“We live in a world where you can see everything about me. There’s not a thing I could deny. So I’m not denying anything,” he said.
June 18, 2008
Nicole Kidman has found a new way of thwarting the paparazzi when she's in New York -- her bodyguard lies down in the street to end car chases.
The pregnant actress was in no mood to pose for pictures on Thursday night after visiting the theater with husband Keith Urban, but snappers waiting for her outside the Big Apple's Music Box weren't about to miss the chance of getting a shot.
After hurrying out of the West 45th Street theater at 11 p.m. and trying to shoo the paparazzi away with an umbrella, Kidman, Urban, the actress' bodyguard Wayne and a driver sped off into the New York night in the back of an SUV.
But the eager paps gave chase and thought their luck had changed when Kidman's vehicle stopped.
Wayne stepped out and lay down on the ground between the SUV and the paparazzi and refused to get up until Kidman and company were long gone.
One baffled photographer tells WENN, "It was unbelievable. We couldn't move. I've never seen anything like this. After about five minutes, this guy just got up, wished us all a nice evening and strolled off.
"You can only hope that Nicole pays this guy a fortune.
"That said, Wayne has a great pedigree in New York -- he knows all the snappers and he's often seen with high-profile celebrities. He's an in-demand guy and, after tricks like this, you can see why."
CORRENS, France- The new game in Correns, a village in Provence suddenly hit by media frenzy since Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie moved into a nearby villa, is to make up stories about the couple for the paparazzi.
You will be treated to a free glass of pastis if you can get a particularly silly story published, mischievous residents said, declining to be named.
Pitt and Jolie, who is pregnant with twins, are staying at the sprawling Miraval domain, near Correns, where they enjoy nearly 1,000 acres of woods and vineyards, a gorgeous 17th-century villa, a swimming pool and helicopter pad.
News of their arrival with their four children has drawn paparazzi from all over the world who now engage in a daily game of cat-and-mouse with security guards under strict instructions to protect the family's privacy.
"They came here to find some peace, and instead there are paparazzi at the gate day and night. It's really unbearable. There are always five or six motorbikes and cars ready to launch into a chase," said Christine, a sympathetic local winemaker.
Rumor has it in the village that decoy limousines with black-tinted windows exit the property every so often to lure the photographers away, while the couple known as "Brangelina" travel only by helicopter.
For residents of Correns, the horde of reporters and other visitors keen to catch sight of the A-list Hollywood stars has provided entertainment -- and some extra business.
"It's bringing business because people are a little curious. For now there's a lot of hype, it's going to be good for the next few weeks and after that we'll see," said Onno Stijl, a chef at the Auberge du Parc hotel and restaurant.
Less impressed are the local hunting enthusiasts, who say the Miraval domain is prime territory for boar and who fear tense encounters with the Pitt-Jolie security guards when the season starts on August 15.
"We have the proper authorizations and everything," said a local hunter, pre-empting any possible objection to the annual shooting fest in the Miraval woods.
The 23-year-old said that working on a low-budget movie made it easier for snappers to get on to the Welsh set for The Edge Of Love.
"We did have paparazzi falling out of trees," she said. "It was actually really difficult. If you're working on a big film, you can deal with the amount of media attention.
"When you're on a tiny, little film it is really difficult. There were occasions where there were more photographers than cast and crew members. It was just extraordinary."
However, Knightley confessed that she is used to being chased by the press.
She said: "I grit my teeth when I say this, but it comes with the territory. It is part of the job. Just grin and smile through it."
June 17, 2008
Prosecutor reviewed video, which showed the entertainer 'inching forward' through a throng of photographers. He said there was no proof she was aware of an injury.
Subtract one from the host of legal problems facing Britney Spears.
The district attorney's office announced today that it would not pursue criminal charges against the troubled performer for a November incident in which she allegedly drove her car over a photographer's foot.
A prosecutor wrote in court papers that he reviewed Internet video of Spears, 26, leaving the Four Seasons Hotel in Beverly Hills through a crush of paparazzi.
"There was much commotion and noise at the time and there is no proof that the suspect was aware of what had happened," Deputy Dist. Atty. Joseph D. Shidler wrote, noting that she "was inching forward" in a straight line through the throng of cameras. A charge of failing to perform duties after an accident would have required "a willful act" by Spears, Shidler wrote.
The prosecutor added that there was no video evidence that the man was hit, but said that if he was, it was because he placed his foot in front of the vehicle's tire.
According to the papers, Spears told police "she had no recollection of the event and that she was not aware at the time that her car had come in contact with anyone." It was one of three times last fall that Spears allegedly rolled her vehicle over the foot of a bystander while surrounded by paparazzi, but the only one authorities turned over to prosecutors.
Attorneys for Spears are due in court Tuesday for a hearing concerning her estate and finances. Her father, James Spears, has controlled her medical care and assets since February when he was named co-conservator of her estate.
The estate has paid James Spears, who left his job as a chef to care for his daughter, $2,500 a week since March. In court papers unsealed Monday, he asked for back payment for the initial month of his conservatorship before the payment arrangement was in place.
In the declaration, James Spears details day-to-day life as his famous child's caretaker in the weeks after she was hospitalized for psychiatric problems. He wrote that his schedule was packed with meetings with her doctors, lawyers, business associates and friends. He describes preparing her dinner and taxiing her to a dance studio where she taught children.
"I spent most nights at Britney's house to ensure her comfort and well-being. I spent a good deal of every day conversing with Britney," he wrote.
It's safe to say that Jodie Foster isn't enjoying her new-found status as a paparazzi magnet.
The actress - who left long-time partner Cydney Bernard for another woman last month - hit out at shutterbugs after they attempted to photograph her sharing a car with a mystery female.
Foster threw her blue and white handbag in the face of a photographer as she tried to get into the car.
June 16, 2008
At a time when the paparazzi are increasingly vilified, and celebrities win court cases against them for invasion of privacy, their work and methods are to be honoured in Berlin this week with a spectacular exhibition at the Helmut Newton Foundation.
Newton, who died in 2004, was certainly no street-corner snapper himself. He specialised in intricately staged, often kinky photos of naked women, many of which can be seen at the foundation. But he was intrigued by the paparazzi and, in the early 1970s, paid six of them to snap away at one of his own clothed models, as if they were on the chase. Newton then photographed the episode himself.
Unfortunately, the paps decided to sell the shoot to their own outlets and Newton had to dig even deeper into his pockets to buy back their film. The result, called Linea
Italiana after the publication which commissioned the project, takes pride of place in Berlin.
Newton's admiration for two pioneers of the genre is central to the show. One was Erich Salomon, who covered the 1929 trial of a Berlin killer by hiding a camera in his hat. The images allowed him to turn professional; Salomon subsequently became one of the most famous photojournalists of the 1930s.
In the US at the same time, Arthur Fellig ('Weegee') focussed on down-and-outs, disaster and death (his nickname is a Brooklyn distortion of 'Ouija'). By listening to police radio exchanges, he'd get to accidents and crime scenes before the cops, and snap what he found.
After the war, the world's taste for glamour, film and fame generally replaced human upset. Snappers gained power: catching a star unawares and knowing how
to sell the image was a new kind of journalism.
Edward Quinn was the snapper- doyen of the French Riviera in the 1950s. His shot of a sylph- like Kim Novak leaning back, exhausted, in a lift at Cannes is one of this show's most unexpectedly serene.
But more often it's an ugly trade. Ron Galella's encounter with Marlon Brando in 1973 led to the Jackie Onassis-obsessed paparazzo losing five teeth from a Brando punch. The next time they met, someone else snapped the moment - and there's Galella, behind the star, wearing a hilarious protective helmet.
It was Federico Fellini's 1960 film La Dolce Vita which spawned the word 'paparazzi': the film's snapper of celebs is called Paparazzo. He was based on Tazio Secchiaroli, an Italian photographer who had become famous in Rome two years earlier for splashing King Farouk,
Anita Ekberg and Ava Gardner across magazines on the same day.
Many Secchiaroli photos are in the Berlin show, but the most numerous are by another Italian, Jean Pigozzi.
Pigozzi has spent 30 years befriending the super-famous and getting himself snapped (usually holding the camera himself) next to the world's most recognisable faces. Mick Jagger, Clint Eastwood, Hugh Grant, a 24-year-old Carla Bruni: all are here in a section called 'Pigozzi and Co'. This is celebrity-chasing with a twist: pursuer becomes subject. If anything, Pigozzi is simply saying how silly the whole thing is.
Celebs including Mick Jagger are expected at the opening. Berlin's paps will, of course, take the Helmut Newton Foundation by storm.
June 15, 2008
She was lapping up the attention earlier this week, but it looks like Lily Allen’s affection for the paparazzi could soon wear off.
The Smile singer has been spotted dodging a mass of eager paparazzi in
Arms full of shopping and cigarette in hand, the 26-year-old fled across the street, with the paparazzi in hot pursuit.
The pint-sized star was taking a break from her hectic recording schedule, with a shopping trip to Sunset plaza.
She wrote on her blog on Tuesday: ‘I have never been followed like we were today, there were literally 20 cars of [paparazzi] with us.
Apparently enjoying being the centre of attention, she added: 'Not that I'm complaining, they were perfectly pleasant, in fact we had a bit of a laugh with them and I quite fancied one of them.'
In fact, she only had one criticism of the paparazzi. Urging them to downsize their gas-guzzling SUVs, she wrote: 'Boys, go green.'
June 13, 2008
Latino pop superstar PAULINA RUBIO's 37th birthday plans have been ruined by a court decision she must pay a photographer she beat up in Miami, Florida.
A city judge has assigned a mediator to the case between the singer and paparazzo Luz Amanda Orozco, insisting Rubio must come to an agreement with the snapper.
Rubio, who turns 37 next week (beg16Jun08), reportedly lashed out at Orozco when she spotted her trying to take pictures and then refused to pay the photographer the money she asked for when she filed a lawsuit against the singer.
Orozco is demanding $500,000 (GBP250,000) in injuries and damages incurred in the 2006 fight, according to PeopleEnEspanol.com.
Rubio has denied all the accusations, even though she can clearly be seen fighting with the snapper. And she claims she was physically abused by another photographer at the scene.
June 12, 2008
Irish actor Cillian Murphy has slammed the paparazzi for stalking his co-stars Keira Knightley and Sienna Miller on the U.K. set of their forthcoming movie The Edge Of Love.
The star claims the actresses were harassed daily by the British press - and admits watching the photographers' behaviour made him feel uncomfortable.
He tells Britain's Harper's Bazaar magazine, "It's not a pleasant thing to witness happening to such cool girls, and it makes it very hard for them to concentrate on their job."I totally admire them for putting up with it - if I walked out of my house every morning and there were 15 men waiting to photograph me, I couldn't do it."
June 7, 2008
The most terrifying words in the Hollywood lexicon, apart from “slow opening weekend”, are “spoiler alert”. This is a bloody sport of amateur one-upmanship in the era of the camera-phone, the hyperactive blogger and those nuts who tried to hack into the Transformers set computers no fewer than 7,000 times last year. Less effort is made easing world hunger.
Fudgy snaps can ruin a film’s reputation months before it opens. The threat of plot-spoilers kept Steven Spielberg awake while polishing his crystal skulls, irritated JK Rowling as American papers gave away Deathly Hallows details, and provoked the geeks of Lost to film three different actors embalmed in a coffin for the final Big Reveal of the current season.
The heaviest hand has been laid on would-be paparazzi in New Orleans, where Brad Pitt has just finished shooting The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, in which he is born old but grows more golden every day. Others might just call that living with Angelina Jolie. Dozens of the city’s police were deployed to enforce antique antiloitering laws against anyone spotted with a lens - including tourists. Murders, meanwhile, went on at their usual pace.
June 5, 2008
Hollywood actress LIV TYLER is so scared of the paparazzi, she once "blacked out" after her family were pursued by them.
The Incredible Hulk star is not stranger to press interest - she is the daughter of legendary Aerosmith rocker Steve Tyler.
But Tyler draws the line at her son being photographed.
She says, "I have a couple of times had a reaction where I've just blacked out. Because they are scary sometimes, and as a mother you are so protective."
A celebrity photographer accused of stalking Jamie Lynn Spears and her fiance in a small Mississippi town has been arrested.
Edwin Merino, 30, of Los Angeles, posted bond yesterday.
He is scheduled to appear in court next week.
Authorities in Liberty, a small town in southwest Mississippi near the Louisiana border, said Merino wouldn't leave the pregnant Spears and her fiance, Casey Aldridge, alone.
Merino denied the accusations in a phone interview today with The Associated Press.
He said that he was about 60 metres away from the couple using a long lens when he was arrested at a petrol station.
Spears and Aldridge have been the subject of intense attention since she announced her pregnancy in December.
She said then she was 12 weeks along, which would make the 17-year-old due any time.
Merino said he'd had little luck taking pictures of the couple and was preparing to leave the area.
“I've seen the young man Casey in pictures,” Merino said. “I haven't worked on them myself. The first time I got a good look at him was in court.”
Spears' family representatives did not immediately return messages today.
Merino has worked as a celebrity photographer for five years.
He was one of the paparazzi who snared pictures of Jamie Lynn Spears' older sister, Britney, without underwear.
Merino said he was the only photographer following the younger Spears during most of his four days in the Liberty area.
“I just think since I was the only one there, it was just easier for them to single me out,” Merino said.
Merino's arrest was first reported by the McComb Enterprise-Journal.
Merino said he didn't spend any significant time in jail.
A deputy drove him to three automated teller machines and he got the $US1,143 ($A1,195) he needed to be released.
In the end, Merino said the trip was a waste.
“The one picture I got was kind of by luck,” he said.“I got lucky when I saw them at Wal-Mart when I was buying deodorant.”
June 2, 2008
It looks like Kate Hudson's latest love affair with Lance Armstrong has brought her new levels of paparazzi attention - although she was always a fave with Owen Wilson also.
Dozens of photographers swarmed the set of her new movie, "Bridal Wars," in Manhattan last week, forcing the filmmakers to temporarily shut down production, according to her co-star Anne Hathaway.
"I don't usually have to deal with a lot of paparazzi attention, but Kate does," Hathaway told Tattle's Laura Randall while promoting her latest film, "Get Smart" in Los Angeles. "There were - I kid you not - fifty paparazzi on the street and we had to call off the shot because they wouldn't get out of the way. We had to find a different location."
"Bride Wars" stars Anne and Kate as BFFs who turn into rivals when they plan their weddings for the same day. Hathaway describes it as "estrogen land . . . the director (Gary Winick) was literally the only guy for miles."
Except for the paps.