Most of us know what Violet Affleck, 7, looks like. She's blonde, has glasses, and goes to ballet class. Same goes for Nahla Aubrey, who's 5-years-old — she has light brown curls and beautiful caramel skin. Is it creepy that we could pick these minors out of line up? Probably, and Jennifer Garner and Halle Berry want to change that. On Tuesday, both Garner and Berry testified before the Assembly Judiciary Committee in Sacramento, Calif. in favor of senate bill 606, which is an act to amend harassment laws when it comes to kids. If the bill passes, it would make photos of children without their guardians' permission punishable under harassment laws, which, in turn, might mean fewer paparazzi shots of celebrity spawn.
Garner, whose children Violet, 7, Seraphina, 4, and Samuel, 17-months have been well documented in the press, gave an impassioned speech in favor of the amendment. She reportedly choked-up as she said:
The price paid for pictures of celebrity children is now absurdly high. They have a bounty on their heads every day. Literally every day there are as many as 15 cars of photographers waiting outside our home ... My 17-month-old baby is terrified and cries, my 4-year-old says, ‘Why do these men never smile? Why do they never go away? Why are they always with us?’ Being stalked has been hard for me, but it’s beyond what a child should have to endure.
And Berry, who's pregnant with her second child, explained:
Sometimes 15, 20 cars create a convoy behind us, they’re driving at reckless speeds, they’re close to our car, they’re running red lights behind us, they’re cutting off other passengers driving, causing near accidents on a daily basis.
Of course, there are those opposed to the bill. Evidently, more than 1,000 TV and radio stations in California are anti-senate bill 606, citing that the amendment would make it harder for them to do their jobs.
Here's the thing: do we love photos of the Affleck kids at 4th of July parades in their red, white, and blue outfits? Yes. A lot. They're so cute. Do we love seeing how much Nahla looks more and more like her mother every year? Yes. And we feel a little weird about that. But should our voyeuristic tendencies and that oh-so clicky right rail on the Daily Mail be put before the needs and health of a child? Negatory.
The paparazzi debate has been raging for years, and whether it's the need for new laws, or the enforcement of current ones, still hasn't been solved. Some celebrities move out of L.A. to avoid the issue — Michelle Williams and her daughter Matilda live Brooklyn and Paul Bettany and Jennifer Connelly live in Vermont with their two kids — but running shouldn't have to be the answer.
The larger question, which will never see a senate floor, is the responsibility of the consumer in this matter. Hi. My name is Lindsay, and I've clicked on photos of celebrity children. Anyone who's ever bought a tabloid or spent any time on celeb-based websites has some culpability. But if we, collectively, can't help ourselves, then maybe the bill can make the change that we can't seem to.