Today’s celebrities seem like some of the luckiest people alive. By doing what they love, they make millions of dollars and gain masses of adoring fans around the world. They get to go wherever they want when they want, and they rarely have to wait in line for anything. Celebs also receive free products and services as a result of their status. The newest beauty developments, designer clothing, even hotel stays… are complimentary for these stars, who receive them on a regular basis. With such lives of convenience and luxury, being photographed or gossiped about comes with the territory. Do these people really deserve any privacy, given the fact the public has made them rich and famous?
The answer is yes, they absolutely do. Celebrities are entitled to the same level of privacy that we as citizens enjoy when not out in public. We should respect famous people just as we respect our neighbors and our friends, as they’re human and expend their efforts to provide us with entertainment. As consumers, we willingly watch their television shows and/or their movies, and we listen to their music. We bring them into our lives via the TV screen or the stereo. Fame and the perks that come with it do not mean that such individuals are forfeiting their privacy. Such a thought or belief is simply irrational. We might like celebrities’ product(s), but we are not entitled to every aspect of their existence, including their private life. When someone chooses to star in a reality show, we are still tuning in to a product of theirs. Therefore, the assertion of privacy should still stand.
Given the conservative terms of what constitutes privacy, paparazzi should not be allowed to encroach on an individual’s private property. They also shouldn’t be permitted to enter medical facilities or schools in an effort to track down a celebrity. These acts are blatant invasions of privacy, and the related issues are not appropriate tabloid fodder.
Because we have so much access to celebrities through various media sources, we sometimes get a feeling that we are closer to them than we actually are. This thought process translates into invasion of privacy by individuals looking to get a story or a picture. Tina B. Tessina, psychotherapist and author of It Ends With You: Grow Up and Out of Dysfunction, explains: “Actors play characters on TV that we feel like we know, and you feel privy to their private lives.” This tendency is obvious when we consider our reactions to celebrity breakups. Oftentimes, we find ourselves taking sides and having an opinion about who’s to blame in the relationship, even when we don’t know them personally. “We’ve all been encouraged to project our fantasy lives onto celebrities, so when a couple we identify with breaks up, it’s slightly as if it’s happening to us,” Tessina says.
It was just last year that a line was drawn with regards to photographers in California. Governor. Arnold Schwarzenegger signed a new bill into law which fined paparazzi for taking photos that invade a celebrity’s right to privacy. CNN reported that this new law made taking and selling unauthorized photos of celebrities in “personal or familial activity” a crime, punishable by a fine of up to $50,000.
In addition to invading privacy, the actions of the paparazzi contribute to a much scarier trend. By seeking out and publishing the whereabouts of celebrities, they can’t be sure who will come across this information. The same goes for resources such as starmaps and seeing stars. These people are giving the public access to private information that could prove fatal if put in the wrong hands.
Celebrity stalkers have become a problem for many famous people, both of the past and present. Because these so-called fans are mentally off-balance and living in a fantasy world, they go to outrageous lengths to contact their idols. There have been many examples of this over the years, and the actions and statements from these obsessed individuals are truly disturbing. The scary situations that have unfolded as a result of this trend remind us that celebrity privacy is crucial. We cannot predict the thoughts and actions of people. The consequences of celebrity stalking was first shown to our generation when Beatles singer John Lennon was murdered in 1980. Lennon was walking into his New York City apartment building with wife Yoko Ono when he was shot four times by Mark David Chapman, a fan for whom he’d signed an album copy two hours earlier.
Another music icon whose been targeted is Madonna, although she has been much luckier than Lennon in her circumstances. Her stalker, Robert Dewey Hoskins, was sentenced to ten years in prison after attempting to scale the wall outside her home. Hoskins reportedly told her bodyguard that he’d either marry her or slash her throat. Prior to this event, the crazed man had sent a series of bizarre letters to the music star alleging that she was his wife. Other celebrities who have had the misfortune of dealing with a stalker include Catherine Zeta Jones, Sheryl Crowe, Brad Pitt, and Jodie Foster, just to name a few.