News

Celebrity moms back anti-paparazzi bill to protect kids

Celebrity moms back anti-paparazzi bill to protect kids

Halle Berry and Jennifer Garner continued their campaign to keep paparazzi away from the children of celebrities. Photo: Reuters

SACRAMENTO, California (Reuters) – Hollywood moms Halle Berry and Jennifer Garner continued their campaign to keep paparazzi away from the children of celebrities on Tuesday, appearing at a legislative hearing in California to urge passage of a bill that would increase state penalties for harassing children.

In emotional testimony, Garner told members of a California Assembly committee that she and her children are followed wherever they go.

“How often do we see a tragedy unfold and say, ‘Oh, there were so many warning signs – why didn’t anybody pay attention?'” said Garner, who has three children with actor Ben Affleck. “I am asking you as a parent to pay attention.”

The bill, which already has passed the state Senate, focuses on people who target children based on their parents’ occupations. The idea originated with a 1990s-era law protecting children of health clinic workers from harassment by anti-abortion activists.

It would increase penalties for doing so from a maximum of six months in jail to a maximum of one year, and increase the potential fine for doing so to $10,000, from the current $1,000.

“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,” Garner told the Assembly Public Safety Committee, which voted to support the bill on Tuesday.

“What this bill would do is give us our rights back so that we can protect our children,” Berry said in testimony shown on KCAL-TV in Los Angeles.

Berry had a daughter with model Gabriel Aubrey and is expecting another child with her husband, actor Olivier Martinez.

The bill has been opposed by some news organizations, who say it will restrict their news-gathering abilities.

But state Senator Kevin De Leon, the Los Angeles Democrat who sponsored the bill, said it was important to protect children from unwanted harassment and dangerous situations.

“No child, regardless of his or her parent’s occupation, should be subjected to such unwarranted and harmful persecution,” Leon said in a statement on his website.

“By increasing penalties and authorizing civil actions, (the bill) will have a significant deterrent effect on those who would consider tormenting the most vulnerable and defenseless members of our society,” he said.

Recent Headlines

in Entertainment

Today in entertainment history: Dec. 19

dolly

A look back at some of Hollywood's most memorable headlines.

in Entertainment

Third ‘Night at the Museum’ marks final film for Williams, Rooney

nightatthemuseum

The credits for "Secret of the Tomb," which opens Friday, read "In loving memory of Mickey Rooney," and "For Robin Williams - the magic never ends."

in Music

Ray Price’s widow opens up after loss

FILE - In a Jan. 7, 2011, file photo, Country Music Hall of Fame member and Grammy Award winner Ray Price celebrates his 86th birthday by performing in Bullard Texas. Price, one of country music's most popular and influential singers and bandleaders who had more than 100 hits and was one of the last living connections to Hank Williams, died Monday, Dec. 16, 2013. He was 87.

Ray Price's widow refused to leave her house for four months in the aftermath of her husband's death.

in Entertainment

Chris Pratt thought ‘Guardians’ would be a box office flop

Guardians Of The Galaxy

The "Parks and Rec" star was very, very wrong.

in Entertainment

Sony cancels ‘The Interview’ in win for N. Korean hackers

interview

The $44 million raunchy comedy was scheduled to debut on Christmas Day.