Halle Berry and Jennifer Garner got political this week when they went before a California State Assembly committee to argue in favor of an anti-paparazzi bill that would redefine harassment under the state's law. Their moving testimony included accounts of their children being harassed and called names by the paparazzi -- stuff no parent would want for their children.
According to the Los Angeles Times, under the bill, harassment would be changed to include "any conduct that alarms, annoys torments or terrorizes a child while photographing or recording that child without express parental consent." It's a great bill, and I'm glad to see that it passed the first hurdle and will now be sent on to the Appropriations Committee. But there was something about Garner's heartfelt plea that got me thinking.
I chose a public life … [but] my three children are private citizens. I love my kids. They’re beautiful and sweet and innocent, and I don’t want a gang of shouting, arguing, lawbreaking photographers who camp out everywhere we are all day every day to continue traumatizing my kids.
Understandable. But she chose that life. We all choose our jobs and professions, and many of them have consequences for our children. As a writer, if I post anything about my children, I have to be prepared to have them be the subject of vicious attacks. Doctors on call have to risk disappointing their kid when they get paged during a tied ballgame, and their son is up to bat. The children of lawyers must endure jokes about their parents' dirty profession. Preachers' children must endure the judging eyes of entire churches. No, it's not the same as being stalked by paparazzi, but the point is that our jobs do have consequences for our children, and we usually can't legislate them away. We have to decide if our career is worth what it means for our children.
No one should treat a child in the manner in which they're describing, and the paparazzi clearly oversteps its boundaries repeatedly, which is especially vile when it comes to children. So if this law helps stop that, great. However, we can't forget that Berry and Garner chose to make their careers and fortunes based on fame and paparazzi wanting to stalk their every move. With fame comes a price tag that unfortunately their children may have to pay, and if it's too high of a price tag then they always have the option to choose another career.
What do you think of this bill?
Image via ABC