Archive for category Paparazzi
Ten years ago today, June 13, 2005, Michael Jackson was exonerated, vindicated, and finally given his long awaited justice for the years of hell he was put through during the decade long pursuit by Santa Barbara District AttorneyTom Sneddon.
Michael walked free after a Santa Maria jury, who after three months of testimony found him NOT GUILTY of fourteen charges which could have brought him 20 years in prison. The jury deliberated for over 30 hours over 7 days before reaching their verdict. When it became clear that the jury had found that prosecutors had not proved their case against him dabbed his eyes with a tissue and Susan Yu began sobbing quietly.
I remember watching the fans outside the courtroom, their silence was deafening but their prayers were answered as the court clerk began to read the verdicts at 2:13 p.m. When word of the verdict was heard by the several hundred Jackson fans who were gathered outside the courthouse they screamed in approval, hugged one another and were overcome with joy. Joy in the fact that what we, the fans, knew all along -Michael was an innocent man.
Michael’s innocence remains an important part of history both ethically and journalistically. This trial proved how the media continually saturated the public with falsehoods and innuendos. The judge did not allow cameras in the courtroom, the “journalists” had a field day reporting whatever they wanted in an effort to win ratings, hence the trial became a three ring circus. A prime example of this manipulation was the morning Michael hurt his back and went to the hospital. He was warned by the judge if he did not appear in court, bail would be revoked. He had to rush to court in whatever he was wearing. His pajama bottoms became a media feast. But, they had no bearing on the trial or verdict, It was dubbed “Pyjama Day” and pictures of Michael in his pyjama bottoms were spread across tabloids, newspapers and TV, they had a field day with it even though it later it became known that not one juror even noticed Michael’s pants, or lack thereof. Jay Leno even parodied it on The Tonight Show and he was a future witness at the time.
This case was tabloid overload and the media did everything in their power to push the public into believing that Michael was guilty before the trial had begun. I remember seeing the cameras, the trucks, the wiring, the tents in front of that court room and thought to myself… “my God this Michael is a human being not a man in a freak show.”
To understand how huge this was for media ratings, review this layout of the media carnival that descended on the courthouse and how the over 1000 journalists logistically provided around the clock reporting during the trial.
It had to take Michael being acquitted on all charges for the circus to close. The tents came down, the cameras shut down and the so called “journalists” ate crow while quickly slithering away like snakes crawling under their rocks. It was not the story they professed it to be, it was not the outcome they wanted it to be. Michael’s innocence prevailed and still prevails. Ten years later it’s those NOT GUILTY verdicts that resonate throughout the world, in our hearts and most of all in history.
“The man is innocent always was” – Tom Meserau
Veronica Mars star Kristen Bell and her husband, Parenthood actor Dax Shepard, are joining with other stars to take action against photographers who take pictures of celebrities’ children without consent. Now, ET is joining forces with Kristen and Dax and has agreed to not air these photos or videos. Watch the video…
Since the birth of their daughter, Bell and Shepard have been vocal on this topic and decline interviews with media outlets known to purchase images from the paparazzi. Both actors have passionately campaigned, especially through their personal social media platforms, to motivate others and bring more attention to this cause. Media outlets using images celebrities post on their own social media platforms or of children attending red carpets and media events are not the issue. By joining forces, ET and the couple hope that additional press outlets will follow their lead. ET’s sister show, The Insider independently adapted the “no kids” policy after meeting with Bell.
JUNE 29, 2009
The Persecution of Michael Jackson
by ISHMAEL REED
Last Thursday, while working on some writing deadlines, I was switching channels on cable. On CNN they were promoting “Black In America,” an exercise meant to boost ratings by making whites feel good by making blacks look bad, the marketing strategy of the mass media since the 1830s, according to a useful book entitled “The Showman and the Slave,” by Benjamin Reiss. The early penny press sold a “whiteness” upgrade to newly arriving immigrants by depicting blacks in illicit situations. By doing so they were marketing an early version of a self esteem boosting product. One of the initial sensational stories was about the autopsy of a black woman named Joice Heth, who claimed to be George Washington’s nurse and over one hundred years old. It was the O. J. story of the time. Circus master, P. T. Barnum…
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Thank you Halle Berry for working so diligently on passing this California law whereby it will be tougher for the paparazzi to take pictures of both celebrities and their children for their gossip columns and covers of magazines. Halle said she was trying to protect her children and their rights. “When it comes to my children, or my child, when they are in fear of leaving the house, when they are suffering from nightmares, and feeling that they cannot move in the world in a free and safe way, that is when as a mother, I have to stand up for the rights of my children,” said Berry. “There is inherent danger to paparazzi’s action with resepct to children.” Halle was assisted by actor Jennifer Garner who, with four children of her own had harrowing experiences with photographers who would do anything to get pictures of her children.
Governor Gerry Brown signed the bill, Senate Bill 606 on Wednesday. It will be effective January 1, 2014. This bill states “Any Paparazzo convicted of harassing a minor who has been singled out due to his or her parent’s profession (famous actors, singers, reality TV stars, politicians, etc.) can spend up to a year in jail, which is raised from six months previously. Fines can also be imposed: $10,000 for the first violation, $20,000 for the second and up to $30,000 for the third. And it also allows the parent or guardian of the child being harassed to seek civil liability.”
One can only hope that these fines will deter the paps and I have to be positive. It is certainly a step in the right direction but a picture is worth a thousand words and photographers can get thousands to get the perfect shot so will the fines really matter? We will have to check out the next People Magazine.
The word ‘albatross’ is sometimes used metaphorically to mean a psychological burden that feels like a curse. I have to say that the albatross in the case of Michael Jackson is the media. MJ has been gone for 4 years and he continues to wear it around his neck even in death. When will it end?
The continuous lies that spew like venom from the same money hungry tabloids that told them when he was alive are never-ending. The same people who spread the same stories that have been disproved over and over continue to speak in idiotic publications for the almighty buck seem to never go away and the albatross is hellbent on making MJ the villain. His accuser, Wade “has-been” Robson decided to “come clean” for his own “sanity” and speak more lies.
I have waited to write about all the hatred and untruths that have recently been in print because I felt that my words really didn’t have much meaning, since my anger has reached its peak and I am afraid I may write or say the wrong thing, hence I am leaving it to Michael to defend himself , something he rarely did in life, with the exception of his lyrics. I always found he said it best in his open letter to his many critics and I leave it with you to remember… he was a man, with feelings and a love that filled his heart.
As many of you are aware this letter was handwritten by MJ himself during the late 1980s when he was constantly on tour and always the subject of much public ridicule and condemnation. This note was composed on hotel stationery and, complete with original spellings, grammar, and format, reads as follows:
A 1994 Open Letter from Michael Jackson to his critics:
“like the old Indian proverb says do not judge a man until you’ve walked 2 moons in his moccasins.
Most people don’t know me, that is why they write such things in wich most is not true
I cry very very often because it hurts and I worry about the children all my children all over the world, I live for them.
If a man could say nothing against a character but what he can prove, history could not be written.
Animals strike, not from malice, but because they want to live, it is the same with those who criticize, they desire our blood, not our pain. But still I must achieve I must seek truth in all things. I must endure for the power I was sent forth, for the world for the children.
But have mercy, for I’ve been bleeding a long time now.”
I pray this albatross leaves him and his children and let them all have some peace.
Most of us will never forget where we were June 25, 2009, the day Michael Jackson died. It’s something that is etched in my mind forever, similar to when John Kennedy and Robert Kennedy died. I specifically remember I was turning right onto a busy corner and heard “Michael Jackson dead at age 50” and then remembering not much else after that. I parked (a feat in itself in downtown Toronto) with tears streaming down my face. I was in utter shock. I it was like hearing a close member of my family died and my heart literally broke. My throat closed up and I could not speak or breathe. How could this be. It must be a prank, a joke… Sadly it was not and reality set in.
I was sure that there would never be another dance, song or voice that would ever compare to MJ’s and I was right. I have tried to watch and listen to the “upcoming stars” that are winning the awards and have #1 hits on the radio. No one, in my lifetime and I believe my children’s lifetime, will ever have the “gift” Michael had and the goals he achieved in his short life. There are the Ushers and the Chris Browns but in every gesture, every dance step, you see Michael. He is in every singer and dancer today and I know he is looking down from heaven and smiling at this. He loved it when children, fans and dancers copied his moves, he was that giving, that loving and that humble.
I will never be the same with Michael gone, it has changed me in both a positive and negative way. I must, however look at the positive. I have met some beautiful people who love Michael as much as I, there is a bond that no one can understand unless you are part of it, “the MJ family” as it is known. Yes, there is mistrust and sometimes disrespect in the community but there is also an abundance of L.O.V.E. I have always been proud to be a fan of Michael Jackson, my love for him began with “Ben” and has never ended. His music is part of my life and my children’s life. His legacy will never die.
One of the most glorious introductions every written about Michael had to, in my opinion, come from Sir Bob Geldof, a humanitarian himself, at the 1996 Brit Awards when giving MJ “Artist of the Generation Award”
“He is probably the most famous person on the planet, God help him. He has also sold more records than anyone on the planet and he has also written, recorded and performed some of the most glorious music in the pop canon, so they had to dream up an award to give him tonight and they came up with the “Artist of the Generation Award” but Michael Jackson has been making music literally since he was a baby. So what generation? At least three have been listening to him already and who will they give it to next year? Or is the award a one-off like the man himself because from a childhood prodigy to adult genius when Michael Jackson sings it is the voice of angels and when his feet move, you can see God dancing. So tonight the Brits “Artist of the Generation” is of course, Michael Jackson……”
I will never let you part for you’re always in my heart. RIP MJ
Rock Legends Steven Tyler from Aerosmith and Mick Fleetwood from Fleetwood Mac spoke in front of the Hawaii Senate on February 8, 2013 regarding an approval of a bill to protect celebrities or any citizen from the intrusive behavior of the paparazzi. Tyler said, “stars today are pestered much worse than previous generations given because of modern technology and lucrative paydays for paparazzi”.
The State Senate Judiciary Committee approved “The Steven Tyler Act” (Bill SB 465) which would limit the paparazzi and people to freely take photos and videos of celebrities when they are in their own homes or on their own property. Tyler, who has a home in Maui emailed the Associated Press “The paradise of Hawaii is a magnet for celebrities who just want a peaceful vacation.”
Steven also made this statement while “First and foremost I’d like to say, being a personality, no matter where we go, we get shot (by photographers). It’s part of the dealio (sic), and it’s OK. It kind of drives us crazy, but, like my mom said, ‘You asked for it, Steven.’
“But when I’m in my own home, and I’m taking a shower or changing clothes or eating or spending Christmas with my children, and I see paparazzi a mile away, shooting at me with lenses this long, and then seeing that very picture in People magazine, you know, it hurts… That’s what they do, they are just constantly taking from us.”
Other celebrities offered their support including: Britney Spears, Neil Diamond, Avril Lavigne, Tommy Lee of Motley Crew, Fred Coury of Cinderella, Frankie Banali of Quiet Riot, Darren Dizzy Reid of Guns N Roses, actresses Margaret Cho and Kat Von D, and members of the Osborne family including Jack, Sharon, Kelly and Ozzy, all supported the bill.
The bill would give people the power to sue others who take photos or video of their private lives in an offensive way, while using telephoto lenses or other advanced equipment to record them on their private properties.
During the hearing, Senate judiciary committee chair Clayton Hee got rid of the bill’s original contents, which was drafted by Tyler’s lawyer, and replaced them with information from a related California statute. This California law was originally passed in 1998 in response to the death of Princess Diana, then amended in 2009 to permit lawsuits against media outlets that pay for and make first use of material they knew was improperly obtained. In addition to provisions against advanced equipment, the California measure has penalties for reckless behavior while attempting to get photos or video of a celebrity. 1
You can read the background of the California Amendment Anti-Paparazzi Statute Section 1708.8 here
As always, media & press agencies are opposed to this bill due to their belief it would punish freedoms of expression protected by the First Amendment. The following were the opposition: the National Press Photographers Association, which submitted testimony on behalf of the Society of Professional Journalists, the Associated Press Media Editors and the American Society of News Editors as well as other media groups. The bill was also opposed by: Sony Pictures, Paramount, Twentieth Century Fox, Universal Studios, Walt Disney Studios, and Warner Brothers.
After testimony was given, the state Senate Judiciary Committee approved the legislation, which will take effect from July 1, 2013 if it is passed and signed into law.
Please watch Steven Tyler/Mick Fleetwood Lobby speaking to the Hawaii Legislature. Please pay particular attention beginning at 12:24
This is a huge leap forward in forcing civility and respect by the media that has a long history of defaming and abusing people and celebrities to the point of human life. Whether it be bullying or uncompromising shots, it is now a grim reality that photographers, newspapers and tabloids post slanderous and negative “features or pictures” to sell their fodder. Please read my post on the incident where a photographer died while chasing Justin Bieber’s car here and the history of the paparazzi here to see how far they can and will go to get their special “shot.” All we need to do is to look back at the death of Princess Diana who was CHASED by the paparazzi and killed during that chase. If the paparazzi had not been following her at high speeds to get that million dollar photograph she would be alive today. Even while she lay in her car dying from her wounds pictures were taken and spread all over the world via tabloids and newspapers. Please view this photo
of Princess Diana moments before the crash looking behind her to see she was being chased. I put this picture up because it shows just how close these paps were to her vehicle. I also a found a smal article about the pleas by her children, Prince Harry and William to not show these pictures in a documentary being made.
Michael Jackson was continually hunted by the paparazzi and never had peace in his life. Michael was chased and tormented by these people and even while the ambulance was attempting to get MJ to the hospital on that fateful day of June 25th, photographers were surrounding the ambulance to get their cameras up against the window to take the last picture of Michael hence making it very difficult for the ambulance to get past them. That picture spread like wildfire and was seen on tabloids and newspapers everywhere. You can now find that picture on the internet where it will stay forever.
Princess Diana’s and Michael Jackson’s children see these photographs and you can bet that these paps don’t give that a second thought while taking them, it is all about the money. Even in death there is no peace. They did not ask for this cruelty and disrespect, it needs to be stopped.
These photographers attempt to get the worst possible picture of an individual and then the tabloids fabricate stories based on these pictures. The truth is out there but not with these media hounds who are willing to kill and die for the big story or the big shot. When will it stop? I believe it has to start with us, remember Michael’s words: “And you don’t have to read it, and you don’t have to eat it. To buy it is to feed it, then why do we keep foolin’ ourselves.”
An advocacy group that is working extremely hard to get a law passed in California with respect to the same issue is The Cadeflaw Legacy Law Advocates who wholeheartedly support the above bill and wish to take it a step further by getting the Cadeflaw Anti-Defamation Legacy Law off the ground and hope to get support by MJ fans and people who do not wish to see the deceased defamed and bullied by the media, the paparazzi and the tabloids. Their advocacy is narrow and specific, a law needs to be passed in California allowing for family members on behalf of their deceased love ones to sue for civil damages. Their goal is simple: to protect, preserve the legacy of the deceased. Words are powerful and leave their effect long after they have been uttered. It is reprehensible to continue to damage a person’s reputation be promoting rumour, innuendo, gossip and sensationalism as fact; after a person is deceased and cannot speak for themselves.2
Please sign the petition here http://www.cadeflaw.org and help make this a reality. It has to start somewhere! It should start with us.
Steve Tyler and Mick Fleetwood are the true heroes in getting this bill off the ground. Let’s offer Steven our support by tweeting him a thank you @IamStevenT and let him know that we as MJ advocates and fans support him, there are many of us, let’s make it happen.
Let’s make this dream a reality for MJ, Princess Diana and all the others who have been bullied and tortured throughout their lives due to the absurdity and cruelty of the media both on the airwaves and newsprint. Let us make that change.
Cadeflaw Video: “Are They Going To Stop?” [youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dAbl_3KNKnI&playnext=1&list=PL41E544E75352BAE6&feature=results_video]
Please watch and share: Words and Violence Curriculum www.voiceseducation.org
If you agree with the Steven Tyler Bill and want this bill enforced you can:
Email the Judiciary committee chairs and members to congratulate them for their decision:
Email your own state legislators and tell them about the bill and how you think it’s a wonderful idea and can be used in your state. Tell them how paparazzi and tabloid journalism fosters bullying and the media should elevate its standards and honor the ethics of civility and dignity in journalism.
Prince Harry has broken his silence and is openly attacking the media and their treatment of him and his family, calling them an “unstoppable force.”
The Prince, months ago, was pictured in the nude with an unknown woman and the pictures were plastered on websites around the globe as well as in The Sun Newspaper. Prince Harry admitted that it was a mistake and a “classic example of me being too much “army” and not enough “prince”, it’s a simple case of that”.
“At the end of the day I probably let myself down, I let my family down and let other people down, but I was in a private area and there should have been a certain amount of privacy that one should expect.”
Prince Harry should be annoyed and angry at the media for the years of abuse that he and his family have endured. Throughout his entire life he has been scrutinized and put under a microscope. His mother was hunted and finally killed in the back seat of a car during a chase between the paparazzi and her driver in Paris. He has inherited that media attention and one can understand the anger and resentment he has with the press. He is returning to public life after his five month deployment in Afghanistan and he is dreading the photographers and the media that follow him on a daily basis He does accept the fact that this is part of life but the intrusiveness is overwhelming.
“I think it is fairly obvious how far back it goes – to when I was very small” he says. “I don’t believe there is any such a thing as a private life anymore. I’m not going to sit here and whinge.”
“Everyone knows about Twitter and the internet. Every single mobile phone has a camera on it now. You can’t move an inch without someone judging you and I suppose that the way life goes.”
“It’s not helped by media, it’s an unstoppable force.”
Prince Harry knows all to well what the media can do, the hole in his heart and the unbelievable pain he feels every day is proof.
They say a picture is worth a thousand words, well we will never know in the case of a 20-year-old photographer who had quit his casino job to chase celebrities to get that “million dollar shot”.
The photographer was attempting to take a picture of Justin Bieber’s “Ferrari” after it had been pulled over on the 405 Freeway by the California Highway Patrol for a traffic stop. The officer directed the driver of Bieber’s car off the freeway onto a major road. The photographer, who had tailed Beiber’s car all day (thinking Bieber had been in it when in fact it was a friend), stopped and got out of his car, crossed a busy road to take photos. He had taken “the shots he wanted” and proceeded to go back to his car across a busy highway. He was struck and killed by an oncoming car. No charges have been filed.
It is a well-known fact that the Paparazzi attempt to take pictures of Bieber in his car due to his “bad driving habits”. Please watch this video of a Paparazzi following Bieber and “bullying him” he respectfully asks them to leave him alone but nothing seems to work.
Justin Bieber has called for a stop to the lunacy of the ” Paparazzi” in a statement made yesterday he said:
“While I was not present nor directly involved with this tragic accident, my thoughts and prayers are with the family of the victim. Hopefully, this tragedy will finally inspire meaningful legislation and whatever other necessary steps to protect the lives and safety of celebrities, police officers, innocent public bystanders, and the photographers themselves.”
This has been going on for years and years as described on an earlier blog but it is getting worse . Princess Diana was hounded by the press, and eventually killed in a chase between the paparazzi and her driver. Michael Jackson was hunted. I recently saw Johnny Depp at a film opening and I was astounded at the amount of press that followed him every step of the way. He needed ten city police officers and his own personal body guards for protection. Never in my wildest dreams would I think anyone would take the chances the Paparazzi do to take a picture of a human being. There are no scruples, no safety requirements, no respect. It has to stop before more innocent people get hurt.
The LA city attorney’s office had hoped to rein in paparazzi with a 2010 law toughening punishment them for driving dangerously to obtain images for profit but last November judge Thomas Rubinson deemed it unconstitutional in a case involving a photographer, Paul Raef, who sped on a freeway to catch Bieber receiving a traffic citation. The judge said the law was overly broad and violated first amendment free-speech protections. (1)
I can only hope and pray that something will be done due to this young man’s murder. Enough is Enough. I remember Michael Jackson speaking so adamantly and eloquently about the Paparazzi during the Barbara Walters interview in 1977
…”I don’t want paparazzi really, but if they come be kind” – Michael Jackson