Being a celebrity comes with many benefits, but according to celebrity actors Dax Shepard and Kristen Bell, it is not all glitz and glamour. Shepard and Bell are fighting off the paparazzi who follow and harass celebrities and their children. 

For the sake of the children, Shepard and Bell started a Twitter campaign in late January featuring the hashtags #pedorazzi and #NoKidsPolicy to end the unauthorized photography of celebrities’ children by paparazzi, according to the Los Angeles Times.

In August, actors Jennifer Garner and Halle Berry stood in front of a court in California. Garner and Berry showed their support for a new law stating that a first-time convicted paparazzi can spend up to a year in prison, and/or pay $10,000 for harassing a minor because of the parent’s occupation, according to the Huffington Post.

Garner and Berry shared their experiences with paparazzi and the traumatizing effect it had on their children. This bill was signed into law in September and took effect January 1 in California, according to circa.ca.

Although this bill may seem like an optimistic step, it will take the cooperation of law enforcement to enforce this law.

Keene State College senior and elementary education major, Haley Brittain, said, “I’m not sure [how the laws could be enforced], but I think they should try to have something. Paparazzi should be held responsible for disrupting people’s lives. I don’t know how, though.”

Since then, Shepard and Bell have started to take their campaign public. They have appeared on Entertainment Tonight and Access Hollywood.

On Entertainment Tonight, Bell stated that celebrities such as Bradley Cooper, Jennifer Aniston, Ben Affleck, Amy Adams, Michelle Williams, Katie Holmes and Scarlett Johansson were all interested in supporting her campaign, according to CBSnews.com.

While on Access Hollywood, Shepard and Bell spoke with Steve Ginsburg, owner of a paparazzi agency, and Christian Zimmerman, a celebrity reporter, according to Entertainment Weekly. When asked if they would ever stop photographing celebrities the way they do, Zimmerman replied with a simple “no.”

KSC senior and secondary education major, Ally Massi, disagreed. “I don’t think that paparazzi should be able to photograph any children whether it’s a celebrity’s child or not. Being in student teaching, I think about how students have a right to their own privacy in terms of photography,” Massi, said.

In the various television interviews, Shepard and Bell have called upon the celebrity gossip media industry to stop using the photos and the consumers to stop buying the products. People Magazine, the online blog Just Jared, Entertainment Tonight, The Insider, Entertainment Weekly, Buzzfeed and Perez Hilton have publicly banned all unauthorized photos of celebrities’ children according to adweek.com and jezebel.com

“I think it’s great that someone as notoriously gossipy as Perez Hilton is already trying to put this to an end. I think magazines might get the message when someone brings it to their attention,” Massi said.

People Magazine issued a statement saying that they would no longer publish photos of celebrities’ children taken against their parents’ wishes. People Magazine began this protocol in January, also listed on jezebel.com

Shepard has been writing about the issue in editorials and on his internet blog. There, he asked readers to boycott magazines such as Star and US Weekly who exploit unauthorized pictures, as seen on New York Daily News.

“I think that paparazzi should not be allowed to photograph celebrities’ children without the consent of the parents because the children are helpless and innocent. They didn’t ask for that life and can’t stick up for themselves,” KSC junior and avid photographer, Sarah Landers, shared. On his blog, Shepard also spoke about how the consumer can make a significant difference. He stated, “The consumer is the only one who can put an end to this. They are the ones with the real power.”

According to Shepard, the paparazzi are doing that particular job because they need to make money and the magazines are paying them for their pictures.

If the consumer stops buying these magazines, the magazines will be forced to stop sending the paparazzi and using the photos.

According to LA Time’s Susan Rohwer, the consumers are the ones who want to know everything about a celebrity’s life. The paparazzi are simply giving the magazines what they believe the consumer wants.

In his Huffington Post editorial, Shepard stated that although the bill limits the press and puts the First Amendment in question, it serves the purpose of protecting the children.

The main point Shepard and Bell are making is celebrities were able to make the choice to enter into the spotlight, but their children have not yet. They believe every child deserves the right to make this choice when they are ready.

 

Taylor Howe can be contacted at thowe@keene-equinox.com