WORLD

About to snap? Then stay back.

CAMERON AINSWORTH-VINCZE August 18 2008
WORLD

About to snap? Then stay back.

CAMERON AINSWORTH-VINCZE August 18 2008

About to snap? Then stay back.

CAMERON AINSWORTH-VINCZE

Paparazzi have long been seen as a nuisancebut ever since the high-speed car chase that ended with the tragic death of Diana, Princess of Wales, they’ve also been increasingly viewed as a threat.

Given that perception, it’s perhaps not surprising that Los Angeles is now mulling over the idea of introducing an “anti-paparazzi” law to keep aggressive photographers at bay. Last week singer John Mayer, along with actors Milo Ventimiglia and Eric Roberts, joined forces with elected officials and law enforcement leaders to discuss ways to regulate belligerent camera slingers. They want to push forward an ordinance proposed by local councilman Dennis Zine that aims to create a “personal safety zone” between photographers and their targets. “My biggest concern about this issue is my right to say no,” said Ventimiglia, while Mayer proposed that paparazzi be required to obtain a licence so they can be clearly identified.

The move might also help to protect the paparazzi. After all, the farther away they are from their targets, the less likely they are to be punched out. In June, Malibu residents were caught on videotape chasing a photographer on a beach who was trying to snap a few photos of actor Matthew McConaughey. The 29-year-old paparazzo later told police that he was beaten up by a mob of surfers who threw his camera in the ocean.

But some officials view the campaign as a waste of time. Los Angeles Police Chief William Bratton said requiring paparazzi to register for a licence would be “like trying to herd cats.” Besides, he says, the problem seems to be fading on its own. “If you notice, since Britney [Spears] started wearing clothes and behaving, Paris [Hilton] is out of town not bothering anybody—thank God—and evidently Lindsay Lohan has gone gay, we don’t I seem to have much of an issue.” Nl