Let us be frank for a second: the paparazzi can be idiots sometimes. Quite frankly, they can be vultures.
I know, I know, that’s a pretty overly biased statement to make coming from such a respected website, but come on. Don’t act like you don’t think the exact same thing whenever you hear a story about a paparazzo getting photographic shots that they have no right getting to begin with. This isn’t to say that all of the paparazzi are bad. Like with any job, there are employees who have some common sense and there are a few bad apples to even things out. Except when it comes to the paparazzi, the bad apples are astonishingly disrespectful and show no regard or respect for human life or common courtesy. Too many members of the paparazzi can’t tell when a boundary has been crossed. They’re no better than hackers to be honest. Yes, hacking is a criminal offense while being a member of the paparazzi is an acceptable and respectable (if not, disrespectful) way to make a living, but that is where the distinctions end. Both involve someone invading someone’s privacy (mostly that of celebrities) for the sake of entertainment; gossip entertainment for the average paparazzo and for the average internet hacker, the “lulz”, as most hackers skilled in internet dialect may profess behind a keyboard.
At the end of the day, it all boils down to recognizing when another human being’s privacy has been invaded. Or worst, when another human being has been put in danger. As the following instances will show, some hackers and paparazzi either didn’t understand when they crossed a line or didn’t care.
15. Tom Cruise Car Chase
In 2012, not long after settling his divorce from ex-wife Katie Holmes, Tom Cruise cruised himself into a high speed chase with the paparazzi. Allegedly, the actor chased the paparazzi for 20 minutes through Manhattan’s West Side while his 6-year-old daughter, Suri, was in the car with him. Details on the chase have remained sketchy over the years as the original source that broke the news, New York Daily, have removed the article–though the URL remains intact–and Cruise’s reps denied the chase ever happened. I mean, would you want to admit the box office superstar you represented had chased paparazzi with intent to do God knows what? In any case, as crazy as this story sounds, it’s not impossible to believe.
Yes, this chase does sound more fitting for a high octane Mission Impossible synopsis than something to actually happen in real life, but the paparazzi can easily work a celebrity’s nerves having to be followed and photographed 24/7. While not every celeb has resorted to violence to get the paps off their back, they have found themselves suing whenever the paparazzi crossed the line.
14. Paparazzi Peep on Jennifer Aniston
Over the past decade, the paparazzi have seemingly grown more and more invasive and aggressive in trying to get their shot. Jennifer Aniston found herself fed up when two British magazines in 2003 published photos of her at home while topless sunbathing. According to Aniston, the photos could have only been filmed if the photographer took extreme means of trespassing over the 8ft wall surrounding the Malibu home she used to share with Brad Pitt. Aniston successfully settled the lawsuit out of court as long as she received $550,000 and an apology from the photographer who snapped the shots.
This is just one example of paparazzi going to extreme lengths to secure a shot. The fact that so many photographers in this profession are willing to go so far and over the limit to get a snapshot of celebrities in their most private moments suggests a lack of morality among its pro photographers.
13. Alec Baldwin Punches Paparazzo After Securing Marriage License
Obtaining a marriage license should be one of the happiest days in a person’s life. Of course, it doesn’t compare to an actual marriage ceremony, but getting the legal documents that prove that person is legally bonded to the partner they love is a moment to cherish. Unfortunately for Alec Baldwin, that memory will always be stained by paparazzi stalking and violence.
While leaving a marriage license bureau with plans to wed then-fiancee (now wife) Hilaria Thomas, he noticed Marcus Santos of the New York Daily News photographing him with some fellow paparazzi. Baldwin approached Santos and then before he knew it, Baldwin pushed and shoved the guy. The altercation was caught on camera by Jefferson Siegel and Santos went on to file an assault complaint against Baldwin. While this wasn’t Baldwin’s first attack on a paparazzo (nor his last) and Baldwin’s anger issues have been well documented, he reserves the right to his privacy like anyone else. He may have overreacted, but he shouldn’t have to worry about a camera being shoved in his face while making plans for his bride-to-be.
12. Paparazzi Cause Selena Gomez to Crash Car
As many of the entries on this list will prove, the paparazzi tend to go to extreme lengths to get their picture perfect shots and often put celebs in danger. For Selena Gomez, this has happened twice.
In the first incident from 2013, she blamed the paparazzi for causing her to crash her SUV into a parked car outside of Studio City. In the second incident that occurred earlier this year, TMZ reported Gomez crashing into a fence while trying to evade the paparazzi. While it can be argued that these were both minor incidents where no one got hurt, this could’ve easily turned into an uglier situation. Celebs can be easily startled or even distracted by the paparazzi while driving. Not expecting an onslaught of cameras shoved in their faces while going out for a stroll, celebs getting bugged while they drive has led to some deadly accidents in the past. Or, in the case of our next entry, intense road rage.
11. Britney Spears Breakdown
In one of the more notorious invasions of privacy, the paparazzi media had a field day with Britney Spears during her highly publicized mental breakdown from 2007. This was a particularly rough time for Spears as she found herself in a custody battle over her children with ex-husband Kevin Federline, her aunt whom she was tremendously close with had died, and it became public knowledge that Spears was dealing with a drug problem; all of which happened in a short amount of time. It’s no wonder why she went through a mental meltdown that included shaving her head and smashing car windows. And the paparazzi were there for every second of it. She would make a successful comeback a year later, but no one forgot the drama or the trauma she went through previously.
While Spears’ mental breakdown was on far too grand of a scale to avoid media coverage, it’s disturbing to think that a swarm of photographers would just sit back and not only watch a woman at her wit’s end, but pawn it off as gossip entertainment. There’s not much the average bystander can do from the sidelines, but there has to be a better option than to just document and profit from the breakdown.
10. Hayley Williams Nude Leak
In the first of what will be numerous entries about celebrities being hacked for their most personal pictures, Paramore lead singer, Hayley Williams, found herself a victim in 2010 when a topless photo of herself hit the internet. The photo was posted on her Twitter page and almost immediately taken down a few minutes later with Williams tweeting the following: “well … my night just changed drastically. got hacked.” Despite the brief time on her Twitter page, it didn’t take long before her photo circulated across the Internet. As most of us know, even if something’s been posted online for the shortest millisecond, it’s on the internet forever. Williams’ fans remained her biggest supporters and Williams and her band continued to enjoy a successful tour that summer.
It’s unfortunate when a celebrity’s most private moments (sexually explicit or not) are put on display for the world to see without the celeb’s permission. It’s a truly damning, horrific situation for anyone to be put in, and as the next few entries will show; it’s happened to a wide array of celebs over the years.
9. Kate Middleton Magazine Leak
When it comes to getting hacked, it seems that no celebrity is left unscathed; not even the Duchess of Cambridge herself. In 2012, French gossip magazine Closer and Italian gossip magazine Chi published photographs of a topless sun-bathing Kate Middleton on holiday at a château in France. Shortly after the pictures were released, Middleton and husband Prince William filed a criminal complaint to the French Prosecution Department as well as a claim for civil damages at the Tribunal de Grande Instance de Nanterre. Although punitive damages could not be awarded under French law, an injunction was made forbidding Closer from publishing the photographs any longer. A further investigation was made, but that didn’t stop Chi from publishing the first public pictures of Middleton’s exposed baby bump some years later. It’s a shame that overseas paparazzi refuse to respect Prince William and his family’s privacy considering what happened to his mother years prior. Which, don’t worry, we’ll get to that later.
8. Sony Hack
While a particular celebrity was not hacked in this case, this was a high profile situation that exposed many of the inner workings behind the Hollywood scenes. In 2014, the hacker group identifying themselves as “Guardians of Peace” released several e-mails between execs from Sony Entertainment, where they discussed confidential information about upcoming movies and what they thought about Hollywood’s biggest stars. Some e-mails featured deals discussed involving the rights to the next Spider-Man film. Other e-mails featured entire scripts for what were at the time yet to be released flicks like Spectre of the James Bond series and the Annie remake. In one e-mail, a producer ranted that Angelina Jolie was a “minimally talented spoiled brat.” Some e-mails even referenced Charlie Sheen’s HIV diagnosis a whole year before he went public about it. The wide mass of information led to some employees at Sony suing the company for not protecting their information, which included social security numbers.
7. Adele’s Family Photos Hacked
Earlier this year in 2016, it was revealed that hackers hacked Adele (possibly through her boyfriend’s e-mail address) and stole private family photos. These included pictures taken of Adele while she was pregnant as well as photos of her baby’s ultrasound and childhood photos of Adele herself. The pictures were reportedly circulated among a private Facebook page for the pop star’s “mega-fans.”
What makes this so disturbing is that this isn’t your average case of some perverted fan hacking for nude pictures of a celebrity. This is about a crazed super-fan who went to extreme lengths to get closer to the singer. By invading the privacy of not only Adele, but her entire family, including her child. It’s unsettling and any real fans should recognize when delving too deeply into their idol’s personal life is crossing a line. Thankfully, a real Adele fan realized when too much was enough and alerted Adele’s management of the situation.
6. Hulk Hogan Sex Tape
In 2012, a short snippet of a sex tape between Hulk Hogan and Heather Clem (the then-wife of radio host, Bubba the Love Sponge) surfaced online via Gawker. Apparently, this was a set-up as after Hogan left the Clem household, Bubba can be heard on the tape telling his wife “If we ever need to retire, here is our ticket.” Then, last year, more footage of the tape was released featuring Hogan telling Heather that he was disgusted by the notion of his daughter dating a black man and Hogan said the n-word numerous times. It cost Hogan his job with WWE.
As easy as it is to be glad that the ordeal exposed Hogan as a racist (that is if Hogan’s attitude towards African Americans hasn’t changed in the last few years), it’s important to recognize that this situation isn’t black and white. Hogan’s off-handed remarks aside, he never consented to being recorded and had his privacy invaded. Does it make what he said any better? Of course not. Regardless, Hogan successfully filed a lawsuit against Gawker for distributing the tape, as well as against Bubba for filming it without his permission. He settled with Bubba, and then put Gawker out of business.
5. Justin Bieber Filmed Having Sex on the Beach
In the most recent entry on the list, Justin Bieber and girlfriend, Sofia Richie, spent some time together in Cabo in late August 2016; not long after her 18th birthday. Somewhere along the way, the two found themselves being intimate with each other on the beach and some peeping paps were there to snap pictures at the scene.
No matter how you feel about the singer, you have to recognize how much the paparazzi overstepped their boundaries in this case. Recently, Bieber caught a lot of flak online for briefly deleting his Instagram upon some rude comments from fans about his girlfriend. He even went as far as refusing to take pictures with his fans because, as he stated himself, “It has gotten to the point that people won’t even say hi to me or recognize me as a human. I feel like a zoo animal, and I wanna be able to keep my sanity.” Seeing how paparazzi can prove to be just as invasive and his fans were quick to poke fun at the situation with the #justinssextapeleakedparty hashtag, it’s hard to disagree with him, since even the biggest stars have a right to their privacy.
4. Tulisa Contostavlos Sex Tape
While not a major name in the US, UK fans will recognize English singer, Tulisa, as someone who was a hit chart topper overseas. Just as her star was on the verge of rising on a global platform with a judging role on The X Factor in 2012, her ex-boyfriend released a sex tape between the two of them without Tulisa’s permission solely out of spite. As easy as it is to point the finger at some anonymous hacker, it’s unfortunate when the leak comes from a face that’s familiar to the victim.
It’s also doubly unfortunate for Tulisa as her career started to go downhill after the tape was released. While she successfully filed an injunction that would prohibit further distribution of the tape, she’s had a rough last few years. She has spent the past few years getting fined and arrested on accounts of drunk driving, suspicion of drug supplying, and assaulting a celebrity blogger. It’s a shame that something so unfortunate happened to the talented starlet before her career had a chance to skyrocket.
3. Leslie Jones Website Hack
Leslie Jones has had a rough summer in 2016. This summer should have been the coming out party for the unsung comedian as her starring role in the Ghostbusters remake was guaranteed to take her career to the next level. Things took a turn for the worse in July when racially charged insults were tweeted at Jones; mainly those claiming she looked like the recently put down gorilla turned internet meme, Harambe. The attacks were extreme enough to convince Jones to leave Twitter. Everyone thought that this would be the end of the insults, but a month later, Jones suffered another barrage of negativity. Her website was hacked and the content was replaced with photos of her passport, her driver’s license, nude pictures of Jones, and a video tribute to Harambe. It’s a sad situation for the Saturday Night Live cast member. Just when things should be looking up for her, something online has found a way to rear its ugly head and bring her down.
2. 2014 iCloud Leak
In the biggest hack related entry on this list, nearly 500 nude photos of several celebrities were posted online in the summer of 2014. The hackers apparently took advantage of a security issue or breach in the iCloud API that allowed the hackers to make unlimited attempts to guess the passwords of celebrities. In what the media would dub “The Fappening”, a wide array of celebrities had their privacy invaded and pictures exposed. The leak was mostly comprised of female stars like Jennifer Lawrence, Kate Upton, Jill Scott, and others. You name any celebrity and it’s likely that they were affected. The scary part about all of this was that so many celebrities were hacked that it even had all of us regular folk shaken and worried as to where we should store all of our private information. If our most private files weren’t safe in the iCloud, where could they be safe?
1. Princess Diana’s Death
On the tail-end of the summer of 1997, Diana, the Princess of Wales, was tragically killed in a fatal car crash that claimed the lives of herself and driver, Henri Paul. While there are a handful of theories surrounding the prime cause of the crash, a popular theory is that the crash occurred because of the paparazzi chasing after her not far behind her car. If this was, in fact, the reason the road accident occurred, then it’s another example of paparazzi taking their profession too far. No photograph is important enough to risk someone’s life or put them in danger.
The possible cause of the incident is the main reason why Diana’s son, Prince William, has been weary of media attention and pleads with the paparazzi today begging for them to respect the privacy of both himself and his family. It is unfortunate that so many paparazzi don’t respect such a simple wish.