Halle Berry has been known to speak out for the protection of her family in relation to what she calls stalking and harassment by members of the paparazzi.
“My daughter doesn’t want to go to school because she knows ‘the men’ are watching for her,” Berry told the Assembly Committee on Public Safety at the California state Capitol in Sacramento. “They jump out of the bushes and from behind cars and who knows where else, besieging these children just to get a photo.”
She added: “I have to yell ‘She’s a child. Leave my child alone. Leave my child alone.’ We get into the car, and my daughter is now sobbing, and she says to me, ‘Are they going to kill us? Are they going to kill us?’”
It is like a boogie man that will never go away. No parent should feel as though they are hopeless to protect their own children from stalking and harassment. Children should want to smile for the camera, not cringe and hide from them.
Berry, who testified on Tuesday said she was speaking in favor of the anti-harassment bill by Sen. Kevin de Leon, D-Los Angeles, as a “mother of a daughter and the baby boy in my belly.”
She said she understood and respected the media’s rights. “We have a love-hate relationship. I need them. They need me. But this bill would not infringe on their rights.”
The new bill championed by De Leon’s will change the definition of harassment to include photographing or recording a child without the permission of a legal guardian. It also addresses following a child or guardian’s activities or by lying in wait, which is the instances in which Berry detailed during the Assembly.
The bill includes $10,000 fines and would allow civil law suits to be filed if paparazzi harass children, especially if it is done because of their parent’s identity. Anyone convicted of a first offense could spend between 10 days and a year in jail. The bill is no joke.
Some individuals feel the law would put regular citizens at risk of prosecution, not just the media.
As of right now, the bill has passed the committee and now goes to the Assembly Judiciary Committee. Supporters promise to clarify language that would protect the First Amendments rights of journalists gathering news while also protecting the personal rights and safety of children.
In the end, the goal is to protect the children of high profile citizens, not just celebrities. In France, the media is known to blur out the faces of minors if they are caught in the paparazzi cross-hairs. Why are we in the United States exploiting them?
So what is more important: children’s rights and protection, or a photographer’s desire to sell the photo of a child without the parent or guardian’s expressed consent?
Until Next Time . . .
Stay Inspired ~ Jules