To protect celebrities from the photographers who hound them, the mayor of Malibu has made a decision. “All professional photographers who want to take photos of celebrities in Malibu must be licensed. The license will cost $2,000 a year,” said Mayor Eddie Arnold. “I know that sounds like a lot, but these people can make a lot of money off one photo.”
In fact, a recent photo of Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie’s new baby sold for $4 million. They had contracted with a magazine for the photo, and then donated the money to a charity for children. A couple of years before that, a photo of Brad and Angelina walking along an African beach sold for $400,000. So celebrity photos, contracted or candid, can make a photographer wealthy. But the stalking that goes on can make a celebrity crazy; recently, an actor punched out a photographer.
Stalking can be dangerous to the public, too. Recently, paparazzi in nine different cars chased after Britney Spears as she left a friend's house to go to a nearby restaurant. The driver of one car, intent on beating his competitors, struck a man in a crosswalk. The man was taken to the hospital with two broken legs. Nobody took his photo.
That accident prompted the mayor’s decision. The very cost of the license, he said, would reduce the number of photographers who hang around in Malibu. “Good riddance,” said one restaurant owner. “Some of them hang around my restaurant every Saturday. They never buy lunch or dinner. They just use my rest room all day long.”
The paparazzi, of course, were angry. “We’re just little people trying to make a buck,” said Ansel Adams. “Most of us never have big paydays. Malibu should collect the $2,000 only if we actually sell a photo.”