Child's play: What's the line when it comes to kids and paparazzi

03/10/14 by Rennie Detore

To the general public, the paparazzi are nothing more than a window into the lives of celebrities.
They chase cars, follow the famous and snap pictures as part of their job, then sell those prints to web sites, magazines and newspapers.
That job description probably doesn't include the side of the paparazzi that isn't quite as glamorous, including being grabbed, punched or kicked, having their cameras or equipment broken or being the center of controversy when it comes to the means they use to get that all important photo.

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Paparazzi are quite the polarizing group, given that you either feel badly for how they're treated or see their occupation as nothing more than being ignorant, opportunistic and flat out unwanted. There's no middle ground when it comes to how they're perceived.
More often than not, famous people deal with them fairly well, understanding that dealing with the paparazzi is part of the deal when you become a mega movie star, television icon or even royalty.
But that line often is questioned immensely when it is crossed, and that begs the question as to whether the paparazzi pose a safety risk based on what they do, more specifically how they go about their day to day routine.
This especially came into question when celebrities Dax Shepherd and Kristen Bell unleashed and unloaded on the paparazzi when that gaggle of barely presumptive and professional group started snapping photos of their children.
In short, Shepard and Bell stand firm with a very admirable and obviously honest and accurate point: their kids aren't celebrities, so why are they being stalked and photographed?
The initiative put forth by Shepard and Bell isn't going unnoticed by their peers, as plenty of A list actors have surfaced in support of the cause with the end game being a simple solution: keep the paparazzi away from children.
It's often hard to feel "sorry" for celebrities and stars alike who tout bank accounts and net worth that reach the hundreds of millions of dollars. The more crass and sterile opinion of the sentiment put forth by Shepard and Bell probably see this as nothing more actors opining for sympathy.
That's assertion is not only off base but misses the point entirely.
Children are the one variable that money, fame, bank accounts and red carpets shouldn't affect, even if their parents are Tom Cruise, Brad Pitt or Angelina Jolie. Just because you're the young son or daughter of someone famous doesn't mean you deserve to have a camera lens shoved in your face from the time you can crawl across the floor.
Sheppard and Bell used an eerie and pathetic example of a paparazzi at work to prove their point emphatically. A photographer was stashed behind a surfboard while he was taking pictures of Adam Sandler's kids playing on the beach. Think about the idea behind that and imagine how you'd feel if those were you're children.
Forget about the fact that you aren't worth 200 million dollars or you're a huge movie star. This isn't about the lure and luster of the adult but rather leaving kids alone to simply play and enjoy childhood, whether you're dad is Adam Sandler or punches a clock 40 hours per week.
Every profession, even paparazzi, have a line that can't be crossed. For some, it might be theft at the office or how you handle harassment. Hoping that the paparazzi exercise good judgment and leave Hollywood kids out of the equation doesn't seem destined to work, which is what prompted Sheppard, Bell and a host of other Hollywood alums to band together to fight back.
Sympathy toward celebrities is hardly an emotion that is conjured up given their status, but their position as stars of stage and screen shouldn't apply to their kids.

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