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Image / Agenda / Breaking Stories

‘Where is your morality?’: Gigi Hadid and Blake Lively on the importance of protecting minors in the media


by Sarah Finnan
20th Jul 2021

Luigi and Iango

Model Gigi Hadid and actress Blake Lively have both spoken out against the paparazzi in recent weeks, urging photographers and the general public to be considerate when around their children.

Celebrity life is one very few are cut out for. Yes, it comes with its privileges but it also comes with plenty of drawbacks and dealing with the paparazzi is definitely up there as one of the least enjoyable. Oftentimes, being in the spotlight means that fans feel a certain sense of entitlement, demanding access to all aspects of famous people’s lives…

But just because celebrities chose that path for themselves, it doesn’t mean that their family/children did by proxy… and protecting minors from the public gaze can be a scary endeavour. Something that new mother Gigi Hadid has unfortunately found all too true. 

Wanting her child to be able to experience the beauty of the world, without worrying about the looming media presence, the model took to Instagram earlier this month to ask for a little consideration from the public.  

Privacy plea

Herself the daughter of two highly influential and well-known parents – Gigi is the firstborn of supermodel Yolanda Hadid and property tycoon Mohamed Hadid – she has first-hand experience of what growing up in the spotlight is really like. A regular on billboards, magazine spreads and catwalks the world over, Gigi followed in her mother’s footsteps, taking her place as one of the most in-demand models in the industry these days.

But, while she continues to live life in the public sphere, it’s a decision that she ultimately got to make for herself… and is one she wants her own child to get to make one day too. Sharing an impassioned message with followers online, Hadid addressed her plea to “the paparazzi, press and fan accounts”. 

The letter begins, “As our baby grows up we have to realise that we can’t protect her from everything the way we want to and could when she was smaller. She loves seeing the world! And although she gets a lot of that out near the farm, she also gets to experience other places – a true blessing.”

Going on to explain how her daughter’s independent tendencies have already kicked in, baby Khai has started taking it upon herself to lift the sunshade up on her pushchair. Something that sounds fairly innocent, it’s obviously a huge cause for concern for Gigi who knows that doing so leaves her daughter vulnerable to the world stage. “She doesn’t understand why she’s covered in the city, or what I’ve wanted to protect her from,” the model continued. “I also want her to see the most amazing city in the world and the beautiful and diverse people that walk down the streets of NYC… that is, without the stress of the media circus that comes with parents who are public figures.”

While in some US states it’s illegal for paparazzi to share images of young children, in others it comes down to “the integrity of the photographer, publications, or fans sharing the images”. Reiterating why it’s so important to her and partner Zayn Malik that Khai remain “anonymous” (so to speak), Hadid appealed to the public to please take their wishes into consideration when photographing the family while out and about. 

“I write all this to say: to the Paparazzi, press, and beloved fan accounts, you know we have never intentionally shared our daughters’ face on social media. Our wish is that she can choose how to share herself with the world when she comes of age, and that she can live as normal of a childhood as possible, without worrying about a public image that she has not chosen. 

“It would mean the world to us, as we take our daughter to see and explore NYC and the world, if you would PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE blur her face out of the images, if and when she is caught on camera.”

Acknowledging that while it may be “an extra effort” for those taking the pictures, Gigi believes that it’s necessary in order to “protect minors in the media”… even if they come from a public family. 

Later admitting that dealing with the “dramatic paparazzi frenzies” is still “overwhelming and disorienting” to her as an adult, Gigi finished by thanking those who have respected her requests thus far, saying that she just wants the best for her baby. 

Terrifying experience

Not the only one to feel such a way, Blake Lively reiterated much the same message, detailing a recent exchange between her and the paparazzi – one she described as “f*cking scary”. Commenting under an article that the Daily Mail Australia posted over on Instagram, Blake requested that the publication remove the photos of her children.

Accusing them of editing the photo montage together in such a way that made it look like she was happy to pose for the camera, the actress called them out for their “deceitful” tactics. 

“You edit together [sic] these images together to look like I’m happily waving. But that is deceitful. The real story is: My children were being stalked by a men [sic] all day. Jumping out. And then hiding. A stranger on the street got into words with them because it was so upsetting for her to see. 

“When I tried to calmly approach the photographer you hired to take these pictures in order to speak to him, he would run away. And jump out again at the next block.”

Asking if background checks are done on any of the photographers hired “to stalk children”, Blake later questioned whether the team had any morality whatsoever. “Do you simply not care about the safety of children? The photographers who would speak to me, I was able to agree to smile and wave and let them take my picture away from my children if they would leave my kids alone. Because it was frightening. Tell the whole story @dailymailau.”

Urging the tabloid to “listen to your followers”, she continued by saying, “They too understand this is dark and upsetting that you pay people to stalk children. Please stop paying grown ass men to hide and hunt children. There are plenty of pictures you could’ve published without the kids. Please delete. C’mon. Get with the times.”

The Comments by Celebs Instagram page soon picked up on the exchange, resharing the story on their own feed… this time with the children’s faces hidden by emojis. Thanking them for drawing attention to the issue, the former Gossip Girl star went on to share some helpful advice for anyone who wishes to try and help the situation. 

“One simple thing people can do is stop following and block any publications or handles who publish kid’s pictures. Feel free to report them. Or send a dm sharing why you don’t follow them. But it’s a simple way of only aligning with publications who have morality. And so many do. 

“All are trying to service an audience. So if that audience makes it clear they don’t want something – like photos of children obtained by men frightening and stalking them – the publication or account will do what the audience wants. It’s the only way that so many have already stopped. Because the people demanded it. 

“So thank you to everyone who’s made that difference already. And thank you again for sharing. It’s f*cking scary.”

With the world’s attention currently focused on the mistreatment of women in the spotlight, now is the time to make good on those promises to “do better” and at the very least, respect their wishes when it comes to their families.

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