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Paparazzi - Stalkers or Harassers?

Updated: Sep 28, 2020

By Maliha Mujahid


Via Bohology, Tumblr


Paparazzi. We’ve all heard of them. Some of us have seen them and some of us just aren’t interested in them. Yet, we don’t seem to know much about them - we’re not aware of what exactly they do or how they do it. For most of us, all we know is that they’re a group of people who stalk celebrities.  


The first thing to know about paparazzi is the exact definition of the word. As stated on the Collins Dictionary’s website, “the paparazzi are photographers who follow famous people around, hoping to take interesting or shocking photographs of them that they can sell to a newspaper.” Through the definition, we understand that, although we tend to refer to them as stalkers, their exact job is to follow around celebrities and get exclusive shots that can be used by various different magazines and/or newsletters to publicize the celebrities in question. These shots are often taken in order to keep up with what these celebrities do in their daily lives (especially if there’s anything surprising or shocking about them) and they're used by newsletters and magazines to gain popularity. Understanding why the paparazzi do their job is pretty simple: to satisfy those who are fans of these celebrities and help the platforms that use these shots gain and maintain an audience.


However, the tactics paparazzi use are often concerning. The paparazzi benefit the people receiving the exclusive shots that they take, but how do celebrities feel about this? Many celebrities have gone through bizarre experiences regarding paparazzi, and almost all of them do not like how paparazzi do their jobs. Think about it: who would want someone prying into their personal life every single minute of the day? Although celebrities know this is a price to pay for fame, paparazzi need to keep in mind that there’s a line when documenting people’s personal lives. Crossing that line almost always does more harm than good.


To give an example of this, Jennifer Lawrence talked about how the paparazzi was something she was expecting when she became a celebrity, she did not know how bad it was going to get. In an interview with the Associated Press, she said, "I knew the paparazzi were going to be a reality in my life, but I didn't know that I would feel anxiety every time I open my front door, or that being chased by 10 men you don't know, or being surrounded, feels invasive and makes me feel scared and gets my adrenaline going every day." This shows that not only can paparazzi invade celebrities’ privacy, they can make them feel unsafe. Another example is the time Will Smith was uninvitedly kissed by a paparazzi reporter, which was indeed an act of sexual harassment, earning the paparazzi a slap from Will Smith as their actions were in no way justified.


Celebrities such as Cara Delevigne, Grant Gustin, and many more do strike up interesting poses to entertain their audiences but have simultaneously expressed the need for paparazzi to stay within certain limits. As expressed by celebrities, it’s obvious that what the paparazzi do can be done without harming anyone - it’s all about the way these people handle their jobs. As long as they keep within their limits, being a paparazzi shouldn’t be a bad or dangerous thing. In any job, one should be ethical when it comes to their work, and never overstep their boundaries. It’s understood that the paparazzi play a huge role in showing the personality of celebrities to the world, which is an essential aspect for fans and those who look up to them as role models. Thus, enforcing strict laws upon the overstepping of boundaries by the paparazzi, as well as proper enactment of these laws, would make this profession much more appreciated and peaceful.


Written by writer Maliha Mujahid

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