It’s difficult being a celebrity. When you’re not amassing fame and fortune, you’re avoiding hordes of fans and protecting yourself from the prying eyes of the paparazzi hiding behind the bushes of your million-dollar mansion.
Celebrities despise the papz for invading their privacy, but savvy celebs know they’re crucial to keeping a well-constructed narrative of their public persona.
Because not everyone can be as clever as Andrew Garfield and Emma Stone when dealing with pushy photogs, altercations sometimes result in a personal injury lawsuit.
Alec Baldwin vs. Marcus Santos
Nothing ruins marriage license day than a pesky pap trying to get a quick snap. But this is the exact situation in which Trumpersonator Alec Baldwin found himself in weeks before his second wedding.
Daily News photog Marcus Santos claimed he and his peers were minding their own business (the business of getting in celebrities’ faces, as it happens) when the actor attacked him unprovoked. Baldwin’s tweets at the time had alternative facts.
The most popular Baldwin brother is known to have anger issues, but as far as paparazzi fights go, this one’s fairly benign. Santos filed an assault complaint, but the prosecutors decided Baldwin’s conduct ‘did not rise to the level of crime.’
It’s hard to say who’s really at fault despite several photos depicting Baldwin as the primary aggressor. But if you believe that a group of photographers would throw the first punch in a tiff with their subject, then you must be a huge “30 Rock” fan.
Woody Harrelson vs. a zombie-looking paparazzo
For Hollywood actors, losing your privacy is an unavoidable job hazard. For showbiz shutterbugs, it’s getting your camera grabbed and smashed by privacy-deprived thespians like Woody Harrelson.
According to an unnamed TMZ photojournalist, Woody pushed and hit him in the face and trashed his equipment. That sounds awful, but we prefer Woody’s more cinematic take: He mistook the photog as a zombie because he was still in character having recently wrapped up shooting ‘Zombieland.’
This begs the question: Did Woody really see an undead’s likeness in the paparazzo, or was that his way of saying the paparazzi are brain-dead? We’ll never know, but the pap was certainly smart enough to claim damages for the assault.
It’s unclear whether the prosecutor bought the zombie excuse, but it probably saved Columbia Pictures a few marketing dollars for the kind of publicity Woody’s statement generated.
Here’s some advice for celebrities: Politely asking the papz to leave you alone rarely works. Play along or release a trolling statement if you must, but under no circumstances should you grab their camera and punch them in the face.
Chris Brown vs. Robert Rosen
R&B bad boy and courthouse regular Chris Brown is known for his many talents and many lawsuits. What he is not known for is his ability to resolve personal conflicts peacefully -- not when they involve his superstar ex-girlfriend and certainly not with sneaky ’razzis.
While working out in an LA fitness center, Robert Rosen snapped a photo of Brown who was playing basketball in the same gym. Shocked and unflattered at having his photo taken, he ordered his bodyguards to rough up the sly photographer, who then filed charges, including assault and battery, emotional distress, and negligence toward Chris and the gym.
The case was settled out of court, but this encounter served an important lesson to gym-goers: Photographing your favorite stars while they sweat it out is not okay and could result in an embarrassing squabble. But if it involves Chris Brown, chances are it will involve some beating.
To paraphrase Lady Gaga, who is no stranger to paparazzi-stalking herself, they’re your biggest fan, they’ll follow you until you love them. But love is the last thing most celebrities feel toward the papz who follow them around as if their livelihood depended on it (fun fact: it does).
You probably have never had any occasion to dodge a pesky pap outside your duplex, much less get into fisticuffs with one (or twelve). But if you need counsel for a personal injury case, call Buckingham, LaGrandeur & Williams. We’ll keep your personal injury cases away from the harsh glare of spotlights.