George and Amal Clooney made it very clear when their twins were born: paparazzi were not welcome. That didn’t stop the photogs from trying to capture the notoriously private couple’s kids. And now, apparently, a few have succeeded.
Recently, photographers from the French magazine, Voici, captured some shots of the Clooneys and their twin newborns while they were staying at their Italian home. The photos were subsequently published by the magazine without the Clooneys’ permission.
According to George Clooney, the shooters “scaled our fence, climbed our tree and illegally took pictures of our infants inside our home…” Clooney added he plans to see the photographers “prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.”
The comments put into stark perspective the constant struggle between celebrities and their fans, as well as the media figures that do all they can to connect the two, with or without permission.
Pics of just about any celebrity will sell. Photos of reclusive stars, especially if they are private or embarrassing, invite huge payoffs for photographers who can capture these images and sell them to the highest bidder.
On the other side of this equation are the celebrities, most of whom understand part of their job is to see and be seen, even when it’s inconvenient. Many struggle to draw a line between their public and private lives, keeping the public at arm’s length until they want the attention that comes with celebrity.
Right to Privacy
Of all the couples who have been or are on the A-list, the Clooneys have managed this trick very well. They’re not recluses, but they do appreciate their privacy.
That they have a right to privacy is something most people take for granted. But there are more than a few who disagree. They feel a sense of ownership for helping to “make” that person or those people famous, and they feel entitled to having a piece of them when they so please. This article isn’t about pointing fingers or assigning blame, or about deciding who’s right and who’s wrong on this issue in general. Each entertainer has the right to make that decision for themselves.
Do they want to be private like the Clooneys and others, or will they be eager exhibitionists like the Kardashian sisters? Many land somewhere in between. Regardless, from a public relations perspective, this is a question that should be answered early and often. Wherever they land on this issue, that decision will influence that star’s PR agenda.
Another aspect of this, and one the Clooneys are currently experiencing, is that, when someone infringes on your comfort zone, that impacts your public perception as well. How they handle this situation from here on out will have PR consequences. Good or bad, fair or unfair, public perception will shift.