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The quest to reform the paparazzi
The paparazzi camp out at venues around Los Angeles hoping to catch celebrities out on the town.
September 20th, 2012
12:49 PM ET

The quest to reform the paparazzi

By Jim Roope, CNN

(CNN) – A French court has leveled fines and penalties on the French Magazine ‘Closer’ for publishing topless photos of the Duchess of Cambridge, Kate Middleton.

However, a former bodyguard says it doesn't do enough to curb bad paparazzi behavior.

[:35] “It’s one of the lowest forms of employment I’ve ever seen, personally,” said Sean Burke.

Burke, who worked as security for many high-profile celebrities, founded The Paparazzi Reform Initiative and is responsible for helping to enact several paparazzi laws.

He says that what happened to the royal couple while vacationing at a private chateau in France is inexcusable.

In cities like Los Angeles where celebrities are in abundance, he worries about the dangerous situations paparazzi cause.

[2:00] “And who’s going get killed is not another celebrity, it’s going to be a lady with a stroller going across the street because the paparazzi are going through red lights, said Burke. “It’s going to be a pedestrian or an innocent person who’s going to get hurt.”

Burke said the paparazzi will do and say anything to get the photo that gets them paid.

[2:40] “[The things they] accuse you of; of about your private parts, of about your spouse, or about your mom, your dad, your baby, anything they want to try and get you to react; that in itself is inhumane.”

Listen to the complete story above and join the conversation below.

soundoff (3 Responses)
  1. Michelle

    I agree with Matt. Many of the paparazzi compromise the safety not just of the celebrities, but the innocent bystanders who happen to be in the area as well. Honestly, we don't need to wait for a tragedy to occur to make sure things are in place now. It's better to be preventive in my opinion. Princess Diana's death was enough of a wake up call. Now, in lieu of recent events, paparazzi reform is becoming an important issue to address and I appreciate Mr. Burke's commitment with the Paparazzi Reform Initiative. However, for the initiative to be successful, we, the public, must be committed to making sure that new laws are being followed, perhaps even new laws are being put into place and most importantly, that we decrease the "demand" of these types of pictures taken disrespectfully by the paparazzi. We can all make a huge difference by no longer clicking on links or media outlets that bought these pictures. We also can stop watching tabloid/gossip shows and stop buying their publications. When the demand is gone, they'll stop supplying. So, in a way, we can play that card with the paparazzi and media as well. Yes, public figures, celebrities and famous people may have an occupation where they are subjected to the public, however, they still have rights as a human being. Whether or not someone is a celebrity or not, those human rights we all have, especially to privacy, should STILL apply to them, regardless of one's occupation. Let's bring humanity back to pop/social culture.

    September 22, 2012 at 3:27 am | Report abuse |
  2. Matt

    While I strenuously defend freedom of speech, I also fervently believe in the right to privacy. There is no reason that just because a person's profession involves them appearing in public to promote their efforts, that they should have to forfeit all rights to privacy. That it becomes acceptable for photographers whose only motive is income generation to taunt and verbally attack people just because the people's profession requires them to make public appearances. There have to be safeguards in law for people to protect their privacy, regardless of their profession.

    September 21, 2012 at 9:34 pm | Report abuse |
  3. jimroopecnn

    What are your thoughts on the paparazzi? Dangerous, necessary evil?

    September 20, 2012 at 3:04 pm | Report abuse |
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