The California Assembly has approved a bill that will impose big-time penalties on overzealous paparazzi. Under the new law, any photographer that breaks traffic laws or interferes with the operation of celebrity’s vehicle may receive a maximum $5,000 fine and one year in jail.
“Celebrity publicists have been in a very defensive mode from a personal safety perspective,” Michael Levine, founder of Levine Communications Office (LCO), told PRNewser. Levine, who has represented dozens of award-winning actors, said he agrees with the law.
“I think this will provide a mild relief against what has increasingly become a Wild West,” he added.
The aggressive paparazzi we see now can be traced back to the death of Princess Diana, whose fatal car accident is largely attributed to a chase with photographers. And, Levine added (with much respect to Harvey Levin), the “birth of TMZ.”
In addition to some of the basic publicist tactics used to protect celebs, like making reservations under false names, Levine says hiring security and using decoy celebrities are some of the extremes that have become common.
“I think it will give some potential relief to celebrities who are used to being photographed but not accosted,” Levine said.