Adam Lambert, I Feel Your Pain. Now Suck It Up, and Say, “Cheese”!
When it comes to that age-old hot-button issue, stars vs. the paparazzi, I have mixed emotions. I can see both sides — and neither one is very pretty. On the one hand, Katy Perry and her fiance Russell Brand have as much right to board a flight from Los Angeles to Las Vegas peacefully as Adam Lambert does to enjoy a quiet weekday in Miami.
Then again, celebrity or not, enter a public space, and you risk having your photo taken, even if it’s by a tourist who was aiming at the Eiffel Tower when you accidentally entered the frame. I remember years ago during a trip to Boston, I was checking out a gallery exhibition when a guy approached me and told me that for the past half hour, he’d been quietly snapping photos of me admiring the art. It was a little bit creepy, yes, but it was flattering, too. I thanked him for his interest, gave him my email address and told him to send me copies of the photos.
Another time, while jogging in a park in Buenos Aires, I was accosted by a bunch of screaming people carrying one of those finish-line ribbons. After I crossed it, and the attack was caught on film by a TV crew, one of them explained to me that they needed footage of a runner winning a race for a program they were working on. I didn’t understand why they couldn’t just hire an actor to play the part, but being a good sport, I ran along without slugging anyone or threatening to press charges.
Thank God I’m not famous because if I had to relive incidents like these every day with camera wielders who weren’t always as polite as mine were, I’m not so sure that I wouldn’t lose it eventually. Would I get physical with someone who was angling for a money shot as Brand did with a photographer on September 17, resulting in his arrest? Would I knock him to the ground as a paparazzo claims Lambert did to him on September 16 in Miami? (Lambert denies he did any such thing. He says he merely attempted to grab the offender’s camera.) Possibly, yes, on both counts.
You see, stars are people, too. Even if they didn’t have photographers chasing them around, obnoxiously attempting to document their every move to sell to the tabloids, they’d wake up from time to time on the wrong side of the luxury bed in billion-thread-count sheets, go outside and get snappy at the first person who gets in their way. So while I’m not condoning violence, I can understand why a celebrity might lose his or her temper in public. I get snippy with people for offenses far less serious than trying to take my picture, and I consider myself a good person.
But then again again, if Lambert and Perry left the house and nobody cared, how would that make them feel about the state of their careers? Would Perry still get all self-righteous and declare via Twitter, “If you cross the line & try an put a lens up my dress, my fiancé will do his job & protect me”? Though celebrities would never admit it, they have the ultimate symbiotic relationship with the paparazzi. Those photographers need the stars in order to have photos to sell, just as celebrities need the paparazzi to let them know that they are still relevant. And let’s face it, if Adam Lambert wasn’t hungry for attention, he’d wash off the black nail polish and eyeliner, put on a pair of jeans and a t-shirt, throw on a baseball cap, and call it a Blockbuster night.
My advice to the paparazzi: Do your job without invading anyone’s private space. Using a wide-angle lens to catch someone sunbathing nude in the privacy of his or her own back yard is criminal, and unethical, too. Breaking speed-limit laws just to get your money shot risks your life and theirs. Oh, and no more photos of Paris Hilton and Lindsay Lohan. We’ve seen enough.
Stars: Shut up, smile and move on.
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