Berry to testifies on paparazzi bill
SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) – Actress Halle Berry was scheduled to testify on Tuesday in favor of California legislation that would limit the ability of paparazzi to photograph the children of celebrities.
The hearing before the Assembly Committee on Public Safety was set for midmorning, although it wasn’t clear exactly when Berry was expected to speak.
She read a statement before Tuesday’s hearing, saying she understands she must give up some privacy, but felt she had to do something to allow her child to move around freely and safely.
Berry has tangled with paparazzi before. In April, she shouted and cursed at photographers at Los Angeles International Airport, telling them to get away from her young daughter, the Los Angeles Times reported.
The bill by state Sen. Kevin de Leon, D-Los Angeles, would change the definition of harassment to include photographing or recording a child without the permission of a legal guardian, by following the child or guardian’s activities or by lying in wait.
It also increases the penalties for people convicted of such behavior. The first conviction would require imprisonment of at least 10 days, up from the current five days.
The goal is also to protect the children of public officials, including judges and law enforcement, said Greg Hayes, spokesman for the senator.
Opponents, including The Motion Picture Association of America, say it infringes on free speech.
Jim Ewert, general counsel for the California Newspaper Publishers Association, told the Times the bill could criminalize legitimate news gathering.
“It’s what journalists do,” he said. “They take pictures.”