Posts Tagged 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
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
It’s been 52 years since the word paparazzi travelled across the ocean from Europe into the American vocabulary. If only the paparazzi in the US and other countries knew what their name meant in Italian, obscure as it may be, they’d probably want to be known what they were in the early 1960’s. Believe it or not they were acknowledged as real press photographers. (excuse me while I take a deep breath and remain calm)
Anyone who has studied foreign film as I have recently, would know where the term paparazzi (actually paparazzo) came from. The Federico Fellini 1960 classic “La Dolce Vita“ had a pivotal character in the storyline who happened to be a press photographer by the name of Paparazzo. It has also been rumored to be based on an odd Italian word called “papataceo” which is literally a description for an annoying buzzing sound coming from a mosquito.
That’s right, it is clear that Fellini understood the annoyance of press photographers very early on in his directing career and maybe unknowingly created an entirely new term to these leeches via the name of a character in his movie. Rome in the 1950’s and 60’s was already considered a city that was obsessed with celebrities and Fellini intentionally reflected that universe in “La Dolce Vita.” Europe was also known as one of the worst places on Earth for celebrity photographers who would almost go to as many lengths as Hollywood paparazzi today to get a photograph of a celebrity. The main difference is that in 1960 Rome was fortunate enough to not have SUV’s that could potentially run a celebrity off a cliff or under a tunnel somewhere during a chase. The paparazzi in Italy have always ridden around in small, compact cars that are almost the equivalent of a little buzzing mosquito that can squeeze into tighter places to get photographs easier.
Wherever the term paparazzi comes from, the impressions of them are the same around the world. Hollywood is again trying to enact laws to control the paparazzi. The European paps do not have the free rein that they do in Tinseltown.
In Germany and France there are more restrictions against the paparazzi than other countries. Since the death of Princess Diana in Paris, where photographers “hunted” and chased her down under that tunnel on that horrific night there have been more restrictions against the paparazzi in France and Germany. In France the Paparazzi need permission from the people they are photographing but really how many really give the permission or get it. Europe is full of tabloid trash and I think it is high times to get some serious laws in North America to prevent children specifically from becoming bitten by these “annoying mosquitos”
Italian is truly a beautiful language and it can make a simple word make “dung” sound classy.
NEXT ARTICLE: Halle Berry Protecting her Child from the Paparazzi!