Bieber urges paparazzi crackdown
Published 03/01/2013 | 11:45
Justin Bieber has called for tougher laws to control paparazzi after a 29-year-old photographer was killed by a passing car just after snapping shots of the star's white Ferrari.
The death on a Los Angeles street has triggered renewed debate over the dangers paparazzi can bring on themselves and the celebrities they chase. Previous calls for action have been blocked by the US constitution's First Amendment protections.
In a statement, Bieber, who was not even driving the car at the time, said his prayers were with the photographer's family. Ironically, the singer wasn't even in the Ferrari on Tuesday.
"Hopefully this tragedy will finally inspire meaningful legislation and whatever other necessary steps to protect the lives and safety of celebrities, police officers, innocent public bystanders, and the photographers themselves," Bieber said in the statement released by Island Def Jam Music Group.
Authorities have withheld the name of the photographer, killed after being hit by a Toyota Highlander, pending notification of relatives.
Much of Hollywood was abuzz about the death, including Miley Cyrus, who sent several tweets critical of some of the actions of paparazzi and lamenting that the unfortunate accident was "bound to happen."
"Hope this paparazzi/JB accident brings on some changes in '13," Cyrus said on her Twitter page. "Paparazzi are dangerous! Wasn't Princess Di enough of a wake-up call?!"
Paparazzi roaming the streets of Southern California have been commonplace for more than a decade as they look to land exclusive shots that can fetch hundreds of thousands of dollars.
Two photographers were convicted of misdemeanour false imprisonment and sentenced to jail for boxing in Arnold Schwarzenegger and his family as they sat in their Hummer in 1998. Citing that incident and the death of Princess Diana, the state Legislature passed its first anti-paparazzi measure a year later. It created hefty civil penalties that could be paid to stars whose privacy was invaded.
Six months ago, a paparazzo was charged with reckless driving in a high-speed pursuit of Bieber and with violating a separate, 2010 state law that toughened punishment for those who drive dangerously in pursuit of photos for commercial gain. However, a judge last month dismissed the paparazzi law charges, saying the law was overly broad.
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