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The feud between celebrities and the paparazzi seems like a never-ending war, with stars citing their right to privacy and photographers combatively shielding themselves with their first-amendment rights. Rock star Steven Tyler appeared Friday at a Hawaii legislative hearing to push a bill, the so-called Steven Tyler Act, which is aimed at protecting celebrities’ privacy.
Tyler, who recently bought a home on Maui, emailed a statement to The Associated Press the day before the hearing saying, “As a person in the public eye, I know the paparazzi are there and we have to accept that. But when they intrude into our private space, disregard our safety and the safety of others, that crosses a serious line that shouldn’t be ignored.”
The bill, which was drafted by Tyler’s manager and introduced by Sen. Kalani English, would give celebrities the power to sue paparazzi who take photos or video of their private lives in an offensive way.
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The legislation has numerous supporters, both on Capitol Hill and in Hollywood. More than two-thirds of the state Senate co-sponsored the measure, and more than a dozen stars, including Britney Spears and Avril Lavigne, submitted testimony supporting the bill. Rocker Mick Fleetwood was also present at the hearing to speak on the bill’s behalf.
Many media organizations oppose the measure, claiming that the Steven Tyler Act would infringe upon constitutional rights. The Honolulu Star-Advertiser, Hawaii’s largest newspaper, published an editorial that called lawmakers who support the bill “star-struck.” The editorial added: “It could also make lawbreakers out of anyone taking photographs in public places, be it an ordinary photojournalist or someone with a camera phone.”
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