Belfast Telegraph

Sunday 28 December 2014

Rock stars win paparazzi victory

Steven Tyler says his children do not want to go out with him in Hawaii because of the paparazzi
Steven Tyler says his children do not want to go out with him in Hawaii because of the paparazzi

Rock legends Steven Tyler and Mick Fleetwood have convinced a Hawaii Senate committee to approve a bill to protect celebrities from intrusive paparazzi.

The state Senate Judiciary Committee passed the so-called Steven Tyler Act after the stars gave evidence. The bill would give people power to sue others who take photos or video of their private lives in an offensive way.

Steven said he asked state Senator Kalani English to introduce the measure after paparazzi took a photo of the Aerosmith frontman and his girlfriend in his home. The former American Idol judge said his children do not want to go out with him in Hawaii because of the threat of paparazzi.

"The paradise of Hawaii is a magnet for celebrities who just want a peaceful vacation," Steven said in a statement. "As a person in the public eye, I know the paparazzi are there and we have to accept that. But when they intrude into our private space, disregard our safety and the safety of others, that crosses a serious line that shouldn't be ignored."

More than a dozen celebrities submitted evidence supporting the bill, including Britney Spears, Avril Lavigne, Neil Diamond, Tommy Lee and the Osborne family.

The stars say paparazzi have made simple activities like cooking with family and sunbathing elusive luxuries, and the bill would give them peace of mind.

"Not only would this help the local economy, but it would also help ensure the safety of the general public, which can be threatened by crowds of cameramen or dangerous high-speed car chases," the stars said.

Mick, who was born in Redruth, Cornwall, opened a restaurant in Maui last August, called Fleetwood's On Front Street. He formed Fleetwood Mac in 1967 with John McVie, who also lives in Hawaii, and the band begins a major US tour in April.

Hawaii Governor Neil Abercrombie has said he supports the intent of the bill but that it may need to be refined.

Opponents say the bill could be unconstitutional. Laurie Temple, a lawyer at the American Civil Liberties Union, said the bill would punish freedoms of expression protected by the First Amendment. The National Press Photographers Association said the bill is "well-meaning but ill-conceived" and tramples on constitutional rights.

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