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Image / Editorial

Scarlett Johansson on how paparazzi laws should have changed after Princess Diana’s death


by Jennifer McShane
10th Apr 2019

To be a woman in the public eye is to know that certain parts of your life will no longer be your own. Your every decision can be questioned; your body shape and size up for scrutiny, personal life evaded. It may come with the territory in the life of the rich and famous, but such attention can quickly go from an annoyance to endure, to something much more sinister. To safety being threatened.

The Royals are a constant in the news cycle; as the sons of Princess Diana, someone so beloved in the public eye, have families of their own, her presence – and her absence – remains deeply felt. But what is no longer a topic of daily conversation is the tragic manner of her untimely death. Getting ‘stalked’ by paparazzi is a term all will be familiar with, and it’s this, and a high-speed chase in Paris with a fatal car crash that followed that resulted in the death of the ‘People’s Princess.’

Yet little has changed; Prince William and Kate Middleton had to publically condemn the same paparazzi for attempting to lure Prince George away from his carers in order to get a photo of the then-toddler.

Related: Meghan’s rumoured home birth: Unnecessary trial or the most rewarding way to have a baby?

And now actress Scarlett Johansson has publically spoken out against the same treatment; of the dangerous behaviour of the paparazzi and has warned about the potential of another tragic incident taking place “like Princess Diana”.

Johansson said she went to the police after she was chased home from her appearance on Jimmy Kimmel’s talk show this week, where she felt that lives were being put at risk. She explained that a group of photographers spotted her as she was leaving the studio and then followed her car in the hoping of discovering where she and her four-year-old daughter were staying.

Although she did not file any formal criminal charges, the actress explained she visited a nearby police station to make a statement.

Related: ‘Meghan Markle is being vilified just as Diana was’ 

“The paparazzi consistently go to increasingly dangerous lengths to stalk and harass the people they are photographing,” Johansson said in a statement.

“Even after Princess Diana’s tragic death, the laws were never changed to protect targets from the lawless paparazzi. They should be classified as criminal stalkers by law.”

“Women across the US are stalked, harassed and frightened and a universal law to address stalking must be at the forefront of law enforcement conversations.”

In the US, celebrity news outlets are protected under the first amendment, which enshrines into law the freedom of the press. Different states have their own laws on photographers, for example in California it is illegal to take pictures of celebrities’ children in a harassing manner but it seems freedom is given to those who will abuse it.

Who will not see that enough is enough.

And who will show no remorse for contributing to the death of a princess.

Main photograph: Twitter