Paparazzi Ban on 'Harassing' Kids of Celebrities, Politicos To Be Law

Wednesday, 25 Sep 2013 01:17 PM

By Clyde Hughes

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Starting Jan. 1 it will be against the law for paparazzi to photograph the children of celebrities and public officials "in a harassing manner" in California, per a bill that Gov. Jerry Brown signed into law Tuesday.

Photographers can spend as long as a year in jail and pay fines up to $10,000 for violating the law the first time, meant to protect children of celebrities and public officials from harassment, reported the Los Angeles Times. The fines increase with additional violations, the Times reported.

"Kids shouldn't be tabloid fodder nor the target of ongoing harassment," State Sen. Kevin de Leon said in a statement. He added that the new statute "will give children, no matter who their parent is, protection from harassers who go to extremes to turn a buck."

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The California Broadcasters Association and California Newspapers Publishers Association argued to legislators that the bill was overreaching and could negatively affect legitimate news media coverage, according to the Times. The associations said existing harassment laws were sufficient to protect celebrity children.

Actresses Halle Berry and Jennifer Garner both traveled to Sacramento last month to testify for Senate Bill 606 in front of California legislators, reported E! News.

"I started this fight with a great deal of hope and a bit of uncertainty so I cannot express my immense gratitude that Gov. Brown has recognized, and acted to remedy, the plight of children who are tormented because of the identity or prominence of their parents," Berry said in a statement obtained by E! News.

"On behalf of my children, it is my hope that this is the beginning of the end for those overly aggressive paparazzi whose outrageous conduct has caused so much trauma and emotional distress," Berry continued.

The Oscar winner went on the directly thank Garner, actress Nia Vardalos and singer Adele for their support in trying to get the California bill passed, according to E! News.

Garner told a California assembly committee in August that she and her children were constantly harassed by paparazzi and the current laws were no deterrent, according to Reuters.

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"How often do we see a tragedy unfold and say, 'Oh, there were so many warning signs. Why didn't anybody pay attention?'" Garner told the committee, according to Reuters. "I am asking you as a parent to pay attention."

Related stories:

Halle Berry, Jennifer Garner Push Paparazzi Ban on Kid Photos

Jennifer Garner Gives Pesky Paparazzo Taste of Own Medicine

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