Stars denounce paparazzi fervor
August 31, 1997
Web posted at: 3:46 a.m. EDT (0746 GMT)
(CNN) -- The car crash that killed Princess Diana and her companion Dodi Fayed early Sunday, apparently as paparazzi trailed the couple in Paris, follows a series of run-ins between celebrities and those who take their pictures for big money.
Witnesses said news photographers, probably freelance paparazzi, were pursuing the couple on motorcycles.
A witness told CNN that paparazzi were taking pictures of the wreck within seconds of the crash -- and that one of the photographers was beaten at the scene by horrified witnesses. According to news reports, seven photographers were in custody after the accident.
A L S O :
Media members condemn paparazzi activities
Celebrity photos can mean big money
Chasing celebrities has become a big-stakes proposition for many professional cameramen, worth incurring the wrath of those luminaries who want some personal space left them.
Greg Swift of The Daily Express said a single photograph of Diana could have been worth thousands to tens of thousands of extra issues sold for its buyer.
"She has always been a main news story for the newspapers of this country," Swift said. "The whole country, indeed the world, has a deep fascination for everything she does. And she was and will remain one of the most popular figures in the world."
According to Globe Magazine spokeswoman Terry Raskyn, celebrities often cooperate with the paparazzi in getting their photos into the tabloids.
Terry Raskyn of Globe Magazine says her magazine paid $200,000 for pictures of Diana and Dodi . . 170 K/15 sec. AIFF or WAV sound
. . . then comments on the role of paparazzi.255 K/22 sec. AIFF or WAV sound
Actor Tom Cruise responds to Raskyn's comments272 K/25 sec. AIFF or WAV sound
Editor Steve Coz of the National Enquirer calls for all tabloids to boycott "motorcycle paparazzi"646 K/59 sec. AIFF or WAV sound
Ingrid Seward of Majesty magazine relates her feelings on the accident281 K/25 sec. AIFF or WAV sound
But in an appearance on CNN shortly after the accident, actor Tom Cruise called her statement a "total lie."
He also said he and his wife, actress Nicole Kidman, have been harassed by paparazzi in the very tunnel where Sunday's crash occurred. He said they were "devastated" by the news, and furious at celebrity photographers.
"They run lights and they chase you and harass you," Cruise said. "It happens all over the world. And it has certainly gotten worse."
"You look at the kind of money that is generated for the newspapers and for these paparazzis -- that's why" they are so persistent, he said.
Other stars dogged by paparazzi
On May 1, Arnold Schwarzenegger and his wife, Maria Shriver, were ambushed by celebrity photographers and trapped in their Mercedes-Benz between two cars piloted by paparazzi.
Two photographers face misdemeanor charges of false imprisonment in connection with the incident.
Alec Baldwin and his wife, Kim Basinger, were confronted by a photographer as they brought their newborn daughter home from the hospital. Baldwin scuffled with the photographer, and was acquitted of misdemeanor battery charges in March 1996.
Actor George Clooney, upset about a broadcast on his girlfriend, urged a boycott of Paramount Pictures Television Group because of its tabloid TV shows' use of "video paparazzi" footage.
Other celebrities are going to violent extremes as they fight back against the paparazzi.
Will Smith and Woody Harrelson both took swings at tabloid shooters in separate airport incidents. Robert DeNiro battled with a photographer in New York.
Princess, Fayed had vocal opposition to paparazzi
Still others have maintained a vocal opposition to the paparazzi, including a former publicist for Fayed, Diana's boyfriend.
Fayed's former publicist, Michael Levine, said, "I've been very loud and passionate in my denunciation of this paparazzi hysteria, they have gone so far."
And the princess herself had pleaded with paparazzi in the past to leave her alone, begging for protection from what she called a distressing intrusion into her private life. She even filed a restraining order against one photographer last year.
Cruise said there should be laws against aggressive paparazzi tactics.
And National Enquirer Editor Steve Coz said his publication would not purchase any photos taken by the paparazzi involved in Sunday's crash in an effort "to send a message."
Correspondent Siobhan Darrow contributed to this report.
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