Scwarzenegger signs anti-paparazzi law


Sep 13, 2005
California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger signed a law on Friday tripling damages celebrities can win from paparazzi if they are assaulted during a shoot and denying the photographers profits from any pictures taken during an altercation.

The new law comes as Los Angeles authorities try to crack down on aggressive photographers following a series of altercations involving actresses Reese Witherspoon, Lindsay Lohan and Scarlett Johansson, among others.

As an actor, Schwarzenegger had testified against two photographers convicted in a 1998 incident involving him and his wife. He also once lobbied for a buffer zone protecting celebrities.

"We always said that the only way we would be able to curb dangerous behavior by these paparazzi was by going after their motivation, and that is being able to make enormous, outrageous profits," said the bill's author, California Assemblywoman Cindy Montanez, a ******** representing suburban Los Angeles.

"Ultimately, when it got to the governor's desk I think he probably remembered his own situation, when he testified in court," she said.

A spokesman for the California Newspaper Publishers Association, which opposed the bill, said the group was disappointed.

"We wish the governor would have vetoed it, but it's not like we're surprised," CNPA general counsel Tom Newton said. "He and his family were victims of the behavior that it was attempting to end."

Newton said any journalists sued under the new law would likely challenge it as unconstitutional because it treats them more harshly than other Californians.

"We think it exposes people engaged in First Amendment activities to penalties the rest of the public is not susceptible to," he said. "If it's used in a way that goes after one of my members, I suspect that constitutional issues will be raised in their defense."

"Mean Girls" star Lohan and Johansson, best known for "Lost in Translation," both were involved in car accidents this year that they say were caused by aggressive photographers.

A photographer trying to take a picture of Witherspoon's young daughter at an amusement park was charged with assaulting two park workers after they tried to intervene.

I think it really took a former (or current) actor as governor to make this law. The press claims that they are being treated differently than average citizens, but is your average Lohan fan going to run her off the road?

The only way to change most people's behavior is through their pocketbooks. I'd hate to think that one day I got involved in car accident because Scarlett Johansen was three cars ahead of me and some dude from OK magazine rearended her and caused a 12 car pile up.
I swear sometimes people just get a little too excited over celebrities. But then again, the demand is there... and with this forum I am actually just proving my point. Argh...