Earlier last month, Paris Jackson was yelled by paparazzi for not showing her face while she was out during New York Fashion week. Should celebrities be okay with paparazzi taking photographs of them and invading their space? Two of our staff writers weigh in on the issue.
Lights! Camera! Stop invading my space!
Written by Lilit Zakaryan
The term “paparazzi” was first coined from the Italian word “paparazzo” in the 1960s and was used to describe the annoying buzzing of a mosquito. Though the century, the celebrities, and the ways in which we consume pop culture has changed, the obnoxious behavior of the paparazzi has stayed the same.
Earlier this month, American model and actress Paris Jackson bashed on the paparazzi via a series of aggressive tweets after they tried to guilt-trip her into showing her face for a photo by stating that her father, the late Michael Jackson, would have never covered his face for the paparazzi.
“Just got yelled at in a really mean way outside the Tom Ford show because paparazzi didn’t get a chance to shoot my face (for those of you that don’t know, paps don’t get paid unless my face is in the shot.),” tweeted Jackson. “Does no one remember the hundreds of unique disguises he came up with all the time?”
The phrase “Celebrities are regular people, they’re just like us” is used more often than we realize, and yet it seems the actions of paparazzi prove that the phrase is far from the truth. It’s impossible to think of any “regular people” who are photographed for every step they take out of a restroom, mall, or Starbucks.
Some argue that by choosing a career in the entertainment industry, celebrities should expect their personal and professional lives to intertwine with the public eye. And though celebs are prone to more publicity than the average person, their lives should not be devoted to giving desperate paparazzi with a story to sell.
Celebrities have a job just like anyone else. They are expected to show up to work, give their all in whatever it is they do, and upon finishing, go home to their family just like you and me. It is not their responsibility to give people their time outside of their work hours. They are people, not public property.
Paparazzi often complain about getting a bad rep, but it is one hundred percent justified due to the extremes they will go to just to grab a completely invasive photo. The relentless stalking, snooping, and slandering is unethical, and in many cases, dangerous. It’s extremely unfortunate that lines are crossed and lives are endangered for something as simple as an unflattering photograph or a scandalous headline on a gossip column.
According to a celebrity PR, a paparazzi once told her pregnant client “I hope you have a miscarriage.” It’s disgusting to think that a grown man would find it appropriate to shout those words to a young woman. And for what? The possibility that she steps out of the car in fury and he snaps a photo to sensationalize a situation that would not have occurred, had he not made such a ruthless comment?
Many people remember the iconic Britney meltdown of 2007 where she attacked a pap’s car with an umbrella. That incident was due to paparazzi not obeying her pleads to give her space after she had just been released from rehab. In another incident, the paparazzi rammed into Lindsay Lohan’s vehicle as they tried to chase her car. Chris Guerra, a former paparazzi, died while chasing Justin Bieber across the highway. The car was unfortunately not Justin’s and Guerra would have been alive today had he not be so obsessed with trying to capture a photo of Bieber supposedly “smoking weed.”
Countless incidents like these have occurred for decades and yet, no initiative has been made to protect the lives of celebrities who are just trying to go about their day. In fact, the paparazzi often don’t provide anything valuable to the public. The information gained from paparazzi is almost always useless, due to the fact that the “news” they report is not newsworthy information, but simply information they were able to squeeze out of celebrities by yelling at them until they lash out or surrender.
The New York Fashion Week encounter wasn’t the first time the paparazzi has hounded Jackson. A video from 2017 shows Jackson running through LAX in attempts to escape the paparazzi. The men can be heard repeatedly asking the star about her thoughts on the possibility of someone having murdered her father. Jackson attempted to cover her face with her glasses to hide her tears as she pleaded with the paparazzi to “please stop.”
These stars, whose work society so greatly admires and connects to, work diligently to create content that people love to consume. To praise these people and tell them their work is “loved,” then say something encroaching to get a reaction from them is completely condescending.
As Cara Delevingne once tweeted, “Please do not make me feel like a zoo animal. It’s part of my job but there should be a line. No one should be made to feel like that.”
Paparazzi are just doing their job
Written by Paolo Woodard
According to E! News, in early September of this year, Paris Jackson was leaving the Tom Ford New York Fashion Week show when a paparazzi or “pap”, unable to get a clear shot of her face, aggressively shouted, “Michael would have never done that,” in attempt to get her to show her face.
Actress, model, and singer Jackson, second child and only daughter of the late pop icon Michael Jackson, is in no way a stranger to the paparazzi. In fact, when Jackson and her two siblings, older brother Michael Joseph Jackson, Jr. “Prince”, and younger half- brother Prince Michael Jackson II “Blanket”, would accompany their father in public, Michael Jackson would have the children wear various disguises and masks to protect them from the paparazzi.
The day after the run-in, Jackson took to her Twitter account venting to her followers about the incident. “I just got yelled at in a really mean way outside the tom ford show because paparazzi didn’t get a chance to shoot my face.” Jackson wrote according to Huffington Post. “Does no one remember the hundreds of unique disguises he [Michael] came up with all the time? The fuck.” Jackson continued.
Athletes, entertainers, celebrities, and even politicians are constantly photographed by the paparazzi. Usually these photos are taken while the high-profiled subject or subjects are going about their usual daily lives, separate from their famed careers or positions. Paparazzi, via Wikipedia, are independent photographers, unaffiliated with mainstream media organizations, which make a living by selling their photographs to media outlets that focus on tabloid journalism, “sensationalism” or gossip.
As someone studying journalism, I find that referring to paparazzi as tabloid journalism very intriguing. Journalism, by nature, is to collect, inform, and distribute significant and current information to the public. Isn’t that what the paparazzi does? Granted some do use extreme measures, but when your livelihood is on the line, wouldn’t you?
Here is an interesting fact about the paparazzi, posted by Jackson herself via Twitter, “…for those of you that don’t know, paps don’t get paid unless my face is in the shot.”
For these photographers to receive any compensation for their work, they must capture their “subjects’” faces, which makes total sense. Anyone could snap pictures at a high-profile event and claim they got a shot of a big named celebrity, yet all you can see is their back or arm or any random body part. A shot of the face proves status. When your trying to pay rent and eat, you may result to unflattering means, like yelling at a celebrity, to get the shot you need to get paid.
In the era of social media, reality television, and selfies, most celebrities are putting their own personal lives out in public. I don’t feel like the paparazzi invaded Jackson personal space in this incident. Yes, he yelled, like most photographers do when trying to grab a celebrity’s attention. Could the photographer have tried a less desperate approach to get Jackson’s face? Absolutely.
However, just like in reporting, journalists do whatever they feel necessary to get information and broadcast it to the public. Tabloid journalist just do their job with little to no integrity, or morals, compared to other journalists.
In this incident, I feel like the photographer, though completely ignorant, was just doing his job to the best of his ability. Not everyone likes how other people do their jobs, but in the end, celebrities are fully aware of the consequences of fame.
Like renowned actor Bill Murray once said in an interview, “There aren’t many downsides to being rich, other than paying taxes and having relatives asking for money. But being famous, that’s a 24-hour job right there.”