November 25, 2011

Paparazzi reluctant to have the media focus turned on them

One of the UK's biggest paparazzi agencies has itself become the target of a media frenzy after a week in which a succession of witnesses at the Leveson Inquiry turned the spotlight on to those behind the camera.

Big Pictures, notorious for its employees' dogged pursuit of celebrities, was in a state of lockdown yesterday after being named this week in celebrities' complaints to the inquiry about alleged invasions of their privacy. It may yet see paparazzi asked to contribute to the inquiry on press ethics and practice.

Staff at the agency, which is managed by the self-styled "Mr Paparazzi" Darryn Lyons, pictured, were under instruction not to answer any queries from the press – an unusual position given their normal relationship with the print media. Photographer and agency chairman Mr Lyons is "filming in Australia", a spokeswoman said, and will not be returning to the UK or be available to comment until April.

Harry Potter author J K Rowling told the judicial inquiry how she had taken legal proceedings against Big Pictures after photographs of her walking with her 18-month-old son appeared in three newspapers.

A photograph showing her son's face was published in the Sunday Express, despite assurances from the agency that the picture would not be reproduced after an initial publication in a Scottish newspaper. Big Pictures defended its claim and paid damages only after a Court of Appeal decision ruled in Rowling's favour three years later.

Other celebrities this week gave evidence against paparazzi, complaining of incidents of intrusion which sometimes bordered on physical intimidation. Hugh Grant told how he had to seek an injunction against photographers staking out the house of Tinglan Hong, the mother of his child, and Sienna Miller described being hounded by as many as 15 photographers.

Industry insiders say that demand from the public for celebrity scandal has flooded the streets of London with photographers, crowding the market. Snappers under pressure from their editors, their agencies and also financial imperatives have used more intrusive methods.

Sienna Miller told the inquiry on Thursday: "As a 21-year-old, I was followed down a dark street by 10 to 15 men with cameras. Because they had cameras, it was all apparently legal, but take away the cameras and all you have is a group of men following a woman."

The irony of celebrity witnesses having to pass by photographers outside the Royal Courts of Justice on their way in and out of the inquiry has not been lost on some observers. The inquiry reached an agreement with photographers before witnesses arrived to remain in a "pen" and a spokesman said that they, the press pack, had been very well behaved.

November 18, 2011

Kevin and Jennifer Mazur Injured in Car Crash That Kills Woman

A Lindenhurst couple sustained injuries after a car driven by a Selden woman hit the couple's SUV early Friday morning at Montauk Highway and Great Neck Road in Copiague, police said.

Suffolk County Police said Kevin Mazur, 50, of Lindenhurst, was driving his 2007 Cadillac Escalade eastbound on Montauk Highway just east of Great Neck Road at 2:40 a.m. when he was struck by a 2007 Chevrolet Cobalt.

Selden resident Janine Colarossi, 22, the driver of the Chevrolet, was traveling westbound and veered into Mazur’s lane, according to First Precinct detectives who are investigating the crash.

All three were transported to Good Samaritan Hospital in West Islip, where the Selden woman was later pronounced dead.

Mazur, and his wife, Jennifer Mazur, 37, who was a passenger in his vehicle, were also taken to Good Samaritan for treatment of non-life-threatening injuries, poiice added.

The SCPD impounded both vehicles for safety checks, and the First Precinct's investigation is continuing.

Detectives are asking anyone who might have witnessed the crash to contact the First Squad at 631-854-8152.

November 1, 2011

Demi Moore allegedly attacks photographer

Demi Moore wouldn’t let a little thing like the break down of her marriage get in the way of having a good time this Halloween.

According to US Weekly, the 48-year-old mother of three was in a "festive mood" at actor Mike Meldman's Halloween bash in Beverly Hills on Friday, partying with the likes of Cameron Diaz, Eli Roth and Todd Phillips.

"She was having fun, [and] she drank," a source told the website. "But she wasn't the belle of the ball. Everyone at the party was drunk!"

Everyone except her husband that is. Perhaps Kutcher, who spent last Thursday trying to avoid the press at a GQ party in NYC, was scared of psychical retaliation from his reportedly jilted wife.

Earlier that same day, Moore was involved in an altercation with an over-zealous photographer, TMZ reports.

Moore was leaving Jessica Nail Clinic in West Hollywood's Sunset Plaza after getting a manicure when she was approached by the paparazzi.

X17’s photographer claims Moore screamed obscenities at them, though an eyewitness painted a different picture, telling that an extremely aggressive photographer "physically jumped in front of [Moore], basically entrapping her, pushing his body and camera into her so she couldn't walk or move."

The photographer has since filed a battery report, claiming Moore struck him as he tried to shoot her, a law enforcement official told TMZ. According to the site, the West Hollywood Sheriff's Department will investigate.