Friday, September 3, 2010
On Tuesday, the California Assembly took action.
Legislators overwhelmingly approved a bill that will hit reckless photographers with harsh penalties including possible imprisonment.
According to the legislation, photographers who break traffic laws or interfere with the operation of a celebrity’s car can receive a maximum $5,000 fine and one year imprisonment.
After making its way through the Assembly and Senate this summer, a modified version passed Tuesday’s reconfirmation vote 43-13.
Now the state’s governor, Arnold Schwarzenegger – himself a victim of paparazzo pests — must sign the act into law.
“We feel this new law will improve public safety in general and hopefully prevent anyone else from getting hurt,” said Paparazzi Reform Initiative founder Sean Burke.
Celebrities including Jennifer Aniston and Reese Witherspoon have supported the measure, and with good reason considering recent events.
Robert Pattinson and Kristen Stewart had to flee paparazzi who weaved through Los Angeles traffic, endangering the stars and other motorists.
Lindsay Lohan’s first tweet after rehab took on photographers who hounded her as she drove.
Paparazzi badgered January Jones into a minor accident, provoked Alexander Skarsgard and took invasive shots of Tori Spelling’s toddler, among other offenses. In general, photographers indifferent to decency have far more entitled than the celebs they accuse of bad behavior.
Gossip Cop is thrilled to see California take steps toward curbing the paparazzi menace.
Tuesday is the 13th anniversary of Princess Diana’s death in an accident blamed on swarming photographers. Hopefully, stronger legislation and harsher penalties against paparazzi will help to ensure that an often dangerous tabloid culture doesn’t claim more victims.