Flash, flash. Click, click. We see them around Hollywood A-Listers, snapping away, trying to get the perfect shot, the perfect pose. The paparazzi are everywhere you look, following celebrities like a second shadow and hounding their subjects for photos.
You would expect to see this happening on a red carpet for a movie or at some kind of celebrity event. But inside Los Angeles International Airport during rush hour or down Pacific Coast Highway?
There is a disturbing new trend becoming commonplace among California paparazzi today. It blurs the lines between what is acceptable photography and what is an invasion of privacy.
In 2008, English model Kate Moss arrived in Los Angeles with her daughter at LAX only to be swarmed by paparazzi as she tried to make her way out of the airport. The photographers had surrounded her on all sides and had their cameras flashing, creating a huge disturbance in the middle of the busy terminal. These avid photogs rudely shoved and knocked down other travelers that got in their way and blocked aisles and doorways and just about any path, making activity inside the airport come to a standstill. Moss eventually had to be escorted out of the terminal surrounded by a force of several LAPD officers pushing back against the crowd of paparazzi.
As recently as one week ago, actor Robert Pattinson was running errands and attending a party in Malibu only to find himself followed down PCH for 25 miles on his way home. The actor had to pull over and stop his car, only for the paparazzi to keep following him for the next several hours, taking pictures of him the entire time. He had asked them to stop following him multiple times and even asked police officers standing nearby if they could do something about the photographers. Pattinson told the officers that the paparazzi were running red lights just to take pictures and he worried for his own safety and the safety of other drivers as well. However, the police did nothing to put a stop to the photographers and Pattinson had no choice but to wait long after dark before he could continue his way home.
Video of both these encounters are available online and each shows both Ms. Moss and Mr. Pattinson being surrounded by paparazzi and all-but attacked as they try to go about their business.
Regrettably, California stalking laws are poorly-written and leave many loopholes that these photographers eagerly take advantage of. State senators are working to fix this problem and ensure more privacy for Hollywood royalty, but until then, stars will find themselves exposed in more ways than they’d like.