The Aug. 31 death of Princess Diana and companion Dodi Fayed during a cat-and-mouse chase with French paparazzi has prompted calls by state Sen. Tom Hayden, D-Los Angeles, and others for new restrictions on the practice of ambush celebrity photography here. Others blame the tragedy on the fact that the driver was drunk, and say existing laws against stalking and reckless driving are sufficient. The Business Journal Forum asks:
Do you think special laws are needed to restrict the activities of the paparazzi ?
Chris A. Parker
Vice President and Director of Sales
Ideal Employee Management Inc.
I absolutely do believe they are needed in light of the tragedy we just had with the loss of Lady Diana. I’m not familiar with the current laws and how they apply to famous figures but evidently they are not enough. I understand that photography is a business, but famous people and common people have a right to privacy.
Vice President of Business and Legal Affairs
Universal Music Entertainment
That’s a tough one. I would like to see some sort of controls because people should have some privacy. But I’m not sure what kind of controls these should be. I guess it’s a question of enforcement. Do you have a law that says only six photographers can wait outside a restaurant, and when you do see more outside of a restaurant who is going to enforce it and how?
Vice President of News and Public Affairs
KCET-TV Channel 28
Regardless of whether the paparazzi was responsible for the crash that killed Princess Diana, I believe photographers in the last few years have crossed the line of decency. If they cannot regulate themselves, I believe some legislative limits are warranted. Tabloid consumers must accept partial responsibility. Any person who regularly reaches for the National Enquirer or the Globe is fueling an exploitative machine. Until consumers curb their appetite for peering into the private moments of celebrities, unintended consequences will happen again.
Fred L. Astman
Chairman and Portfolio Manager
First Wilshire Securities Management Inc.
I would say there is some modification needed, but it’s hard to nail down exactly what. Something to slow down some of the mavericks in the (paparazzi) industry.
Los Angeles Office Partner
Robins Kaplan Miller & Ciresi
Notwithstanding the terrible tragedy we’ve just had, I think the importance of freedom of the press would override any law you could fashion. I’d look for self-censorship and censorship from the public as I’m not one establish laws to curb conduct that is legal for other people.