The Legality Behind Paparazzi Pics

TMZ’s a guilty pleasure for many American’s wanting to know what’s going on in the world of celebrities. But for others it wasn’t that long ago that they would remember news reports from the UK about Princess Diana’s death, and how her life was tragically cut short because of the paparazzi’s need for a picture. Therein lies the tension between photog’s clamoring for the juicy picture they know the world will want to see, and the famous people who have their privacy invaded, and lives severely disrupted.

Who’s the Victim?

Over the last few years there has been buzz about celebrity’s that have sued magazines, and paparazzi who in turn sued celebrities. A recent New York Times article is a reminder of one of the world’s largest multimedia conglomerates, News of the World, and their phone hacking scandal that reached both sides of the pond, affecting celebrities in Britain as well as the US. But the paparazzi have had their share of unfair treatment as well. So who is really the victim here?

Mike Tyson TKO’ed

A 2010 PopEater article talks about Mike Tyson getting sued by a paparazzi photographer for $25 million. According to the report, an altercation at LAX resulted in the photographer receiving injuries to:

• His face.
• Spine.
• Neck.
• Brain.

The Huffington post points out that Tyson alleged the paparazzi photographer, Antonio Echevarria, “aggressively pursed” him and his family through the airport. However, there were no physical injuries or marks on Tyson, and Tyson had been quoted as threatening to kill Echevarria.

Sean Penn’s Paparazzi Vandalism

TMZ reported about Sean Penn’s “no contest plea” to a 2010 incident in which Penn kicked a photographer, who filed a civil lawsuit alleging a knee injury. It settled a little over a year later with an undisclosed monetary amount and Penn facing:

• 36 Months of probation.
• 300 Hours of mandatory community service.

Celebrities Who Have Been Injured

Part of the reason celebrities fight back isn’t just because their privacy is being assaulted, but often so isn’t their safety. Nicole Richie had to be taken to a hospital after a 2009 car accident that was caused when paparazzi following her rear-ended the car she was in. Brad Pitt was rear-ended by a photographer trying to snap his picture while he was riding a motorcycle. Other celebrities that have runs in with the paparazzi include:

• Madonna getting knocked in the face while carrying her baby.
• Jessica Simpson and her friend got smacked in the face.
• Rihanna knocked by a London photog.

What’s the Law?

Although celebrities are affected wherever they go, California is a definite hot spot for celeb-paparazzi battles. In 2009, celebrity, Governor Schwarzenegger offered legal help to his Hollywood pals by passing an anti-paparazzi law. What does this mean?

• Photos and their earnings may have to be forfeited.
• Fines for cameramen.
• Lawsuits for media outlets that publish illegal photos.

The battle between the famous and those who take their picture will not be going away anytime soon. And with increased injuries, and even deaths the likelihood is that there will be an increase in legislation as well.

  

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A Chat with Rizwan Manji, Parvesh Cheena, and Anisha Nagarajan (“Outsourced”)

Although I mentioned in the intro to my chat with Ben Rappaport that my encounter with him at the 2011 Winter TCA Tour was the first time I’d ever spoken with him, it was not the first time I’d talked to a cast member of “Outsourced.” I had the pleasure of speaking with Rizwan Manji and Parvesh Cheena back in August at the summer TCA tour, and having enjoyed watching the ensemble of the show really come together since then, I took advantage of the opportunity to talk to them again. It was an added bonus, however, that the lovely Anisha Nagarajan, who plays Madhuri on the series (and who I’d not met previously), happened to walk up while we were chatting. All three were jazzed about the way “Outsourced” has been coming along and, perhaps more surprisingly, are actually kind of excited about their new 10:30 PM timeslot, which takes effect tonight.

One housekeeping note: there are a couple of questions within the piece which were asked by my TCA compatriot Bill Brioux, who has a great and appropriately-titled site called TV Feeds My Family. Poor Bill was forced to battle his way through the last half of the tour with an excruciating case of laryngitis, and he asked if – in lieu of trying to croak out all of his questions – he could piggyback on a couple of my interviews, so if you should happen to be one of the few people who reads both of us, let me assure you that any crossover between our pieces on “Outsourced” is totally authorized.

Bullz-Eye: You and I first met back in the summer, for the initial “Outsourced” panel. Are you nervous about being back amongst the critics?

Rizwan Manji: (Laughs) You know what? We’re very excited to be back. We’re glad that we’re still here and that we’re doing so well, so we’re very happy about that. Yeah, I think we’re a little bit more relaxed than we were in August. We were very nervous about what we were going to be asked, and we hadn’t done it before. Now, we’re sort of…we’ve gone to a bunch of different events now, so we’re a little bit calmer than we were in August.

BE: Plus, you guys are a hit now.

RM: Yes! We’re very excited about that!

BE: I liked the show from the get-go, actually. I used to work in a call center, so I had a natural affinity to the concept.

RM: So you’re the real Todd, I guess? (Laughs)

BE: Well, I did my best. In fact, I just spoke with your onscreen nemesis a few minutes ago.

RM: You did…? (Cuts eyes suspiciously around the room, then laughs)

BE: You guys really have some great chemistry together, a hero/villain dynamic or whatever you want to call it.

RM: Oh, thank you! Yeah, me and Ben, we have a tremendous time. We actually even live really close by each other, so we actually even see each other on the weekends. My daughter loves him, and whenever she sees him on TV, she’s always, like, “More Ben! More Ben!” (Laughs) She’s two, and that’s what she can come up with. You know, it’s…I’m so thankful that, as you said, the chemistry worked out, because we never auditioned together. It was one of those things where I found out really late in the game, because, as I think I might’ve mentioned to you in the summer, I auditioned for a different part. So when we actually met was the first time we were reading it for the network, and we were, like, “Oh, my God, this works!” So it could’ve gone horribly wrong, or it could’ve been this, and I’m so happy that we have a little bit of chemistry.

Read the rest of this entry »

  

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American Idol: Say hello to Hollywood

Mercifully, the audition rounds of “American Idol” Season 8 are in the books. We have endured eight stops and seven episodes in the last few weeks, and now the scene is shifting to the Kodak Theatre in Hollywood next Tuesday. Last night they lumped two audition stops into one, and those were New York City and San Juan, Puerto Rico. The back and forth during the episode was a little confusing, but the talent was as bad and as good in both places as it had been in Kansas City or Salt Lake or Phoenix or wherever else. Here were the good and bad of the ones who had the most airtime on Thursday night….

THE BAD

Adeola, who had quit her job because she was so sure she was going to Hollywood, sang a Jennifer Hudson song and was just awful, and I mean every note was off-key. Lucky for her, Simon Cowell was nice enough to call her former employer and get Adeola her job back. Who said Simon was a tool? That was classy…..Jessica Byers, a 20 year old who sang Celine Dion, was so loud and emotive that she made the audition uncomfortable for everyone. She claimed she was just nervous, but no, she just wasn’t good….Joel Contreras was a crazy rocker dude from San Juan who called himself the “human iPod” and was more talented at being nuts than at singing…Alexis, who auditioned last season and was also a bit of a wack job, returned to the New York City auditions and claimed to have toned down her act through stuff like yoga. Yeah, okay. Alexis attempted Madonna’s “Like a Prayer” and let’s just say she can also go back to being nuts, because she is better at that than at singing. Also true to form, she gave the judges the finger on the way out. Nice.

THE GOOD

Jorge Nunez, a 20 year old from Puerto Rico, sang “My Way” and had a nice Latin flair about him. The judges started saying he may have trouble singing in English, but Simon correctly pointed out that they came to San Juan to find Puerto Rican natives with talent, otherwise they would have gone to Omaha…..Melinda Camille, who admitted she likes to dance naked in her bedroom while singing, sang “Feeling Good” and had a really great voice. No confirmation on whether or not she will bring her clothes to Hollywood….Jackie Tom, who sang Jason Mraz’ “I’m Yours,” picked an odd song but had a nice tone to her voice and got through….Nick Mitchell, who goes under the moniker “Norman Gentle,” had this cabaret thing going on, and tried to inject humor into everything he did. This pissed off Simon to no end, but even he laughed when “Norman” made a crude joke about Simon and Ryan Seacrest. Anyway, when dude stopped joking and sang “Amazing Grace,” I think I speak for all of America when I say it was a pleasant surprise. Norm is off to Cali, and he will no doubt be polarizing to everyone there….after a medley of good auditions and yellow tickets, things were winding down. Next up was Monique, a 16 year old who brought along her 9 year old brother, Christopher. The kid was like a used car salesman to the judges, and since Monique was above average but not great, an assist goes to young Chris for sending his sis to Hollywood….finally there was Patricia, a 20 year old who took on Whitney Houston. That’s never a good idea, because artists like Whitney or Stevie Wonder or Aretha Franklin are just so hard to live up to vocally for an amateur. Anyway, Patricia did earn her ticket, but barely.

So our initial auditions are over, and now we head to Hollywood for the next round. Soon we will have our Top 24 and a clearer picture of who some of the contenders will be. See you all next week!

  

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