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Celebrities angrily recount experiences with paparazzi


Photographers union: Don't jump to conclusions

September 1, 1997
Web posted at: 1:08 p.m. EDT (1708 GMT)

(CNN) -- While French investigators were trying Monday to establish what role, if any, photographers played in the death of Princess Diana, international celebrities intensified calls for an end to the way in which paparazzi pursue their subjects.

Police are investigating whether the photographers' pursuit of Diana's car contributed to Sunday's crash. Seven photographers have been detained for questioning by French police.

But, in France, some media said Monday that several of the photographers involved in the pursuit were legitimate news photographers, and not paparazzi, the commercial photographers who trail celebrities and sell their pictures to the highest bidder.

A union representing French news photographers urged the public not to jump to conclusions.

"Before throwing professionals to the lions, it is useful to remember that these are the same (photographers) who risk their lives to pursue images on battlefields around the world," it said.


The latest protest calls against paparazzi came from film and sports celebrities who had gathered in Melbourne, Australia, for the opening of a new restaurant.

The British-born actor, director, playwright and novelist Peter Ustinov said that the paparazzis' "uncontrolled photography is one of the blights of our time."

"I think it's terrible and now it's been made into a Greek tragedy anyway...or Romeo and Juliet. It's something unfinished and therefore tragic and the fact that both died together seems in a way symbolic," he said.icon (259K/22 sec. AIFF or WAV sound)

U.S. actor, director and screenwriter Sylvester Stallone pointed an accusing finger at the paparazzi.

"The press, by and large, are fantastic. We're talking about a small renegade group. They're stalkers, legalized stalkers," Stallone said. icon (245K/22 sec. AIFF or WAV sound)


Stallone said he always feared that something tragic would happen involving paparazzi and a celebrity, but added "never in my wildest dreams" did he think it would happen to someone as "fantastic" as Princess Diana.

Boxing celebrity Sugar Ray Leonard echoed the view of many stars when he said that a line had to be drawn as to how commercial photographers were allowed to operate, saying that "at times it becomes too invasive."

The well-publicized paparazzi chase of Diana's car has, in some cases, already caused a backlash against press photographers.

One incident took place in Christchurch, New Zealand, Monday, when construction workers attacked a female photographer.

The newspaper photographer, a woman in her 30s whose name has not been released, was taking pictures of an industrial accident.

"Didn't you do enough, killing someone yesterday?" workers reportedly shouted. "Suppose you're getting $1,000 for this one too."

The woman, from the Christchurch Press newspaper, suffered neck and shoulder injuries and bruises to her face and body after her camera was shoved in her face and she was thrown onto the footpath. Her camera equipment was smashed.

Correspondent John Raedler and Reuters contributed to this report.


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