“It is for all of us that I rejoice today and hope that this fight will continue and that the proper enforcement of this law will truly make a positive impact on the daily lives of all children.” — Halle Berry
*For Halle Berry and others like her, justice has now been served.
The 47-year-old actress, now pregnant with her second child, fought long and hard to get what has been termed the “anti paparazzi bill” passed in California. The bill would impose tougher penalties on photographers who harass the children of celebrities and on Tuesday, governor Jerry Brown signed Senate Bill 606 into law.
Now that the bill has passed into law, any paparazzi pursuing a child based on the celebrity status of its parent(s), this includes actors, athletes, politicians, reality stars and singers, can get up to one year of jail time (raised from six months previously) and possibly, even incur hefty fines of $10,000, $20,000 and $30,000 for the first, second and third offenses. In addition, the parent or guardian of the harassed child will be able to seek civil liability.
The term ‘harassment’ as it pertains to the Bill, has also been clarified and defined.
According to the office of state Sen. Kevin de León, who sponsored the bill and worked with Berry to pass it, it now includes “conduct in the course of the actual or attempted recording of children’s images and/or voices, without express parental consent, by following their activities or lying in wait.”
Clarification also reveals that “transmitting, publishing or broadcasting a child’s image and/or voice does not constitute a violation,” which had been a First Amendment concern. So journalists doing their job of taking photos or reporting on news aren’t impacted. Instead, people who are being aggressive and stalking is the target here.
“The Call” star didn’t mince words in exclaiming her joy at the news that the Bill had passed.
“I started this fight with a great deal of hope and a bit of uncertainty so I cannot express my immense gratitude that Governor Brown has recognized, and acted to remedy, the plight of children who are tormented because of the identity or prominence of their parents.”
Berry is the mother of 5-year-old daughter, Nahla, and is expecting a son with husband Olivier Martinez this fall.
“On behalf of my children, it is my hope that this is the beginning of the end for those overly aggressive paparazzi whose outrageous conduct has caused so much trauma and emotional distress,” she continues.