Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Hawaii: A Sanctuary for Celebrities?

Hawaii is a beautiful paradise enjoyed by local residents and thousands of daily visitors from around the world.  Included among the visitors are the new celebrities, who come to Hawaii, wanting to make the islands their own personal sanctuary away from intruding photographers  

Celebrities, who visit the islands or have become residents of Hawaii, believe that their right-to-privacy is above any regular citizen in the 50th state.  Aerosmith lead singer and former American Idol judge Steven Tyler (pictured above), who is a Maui resident, is leading the fight to protect the privacy of celebrities who are photographed on private property.  In addition, the brand new "Steven Tyler Act" which is currently going through the motions with the Judiciary Committee makes it easy for any celebrity in Hawaii to sue anyone whether it is a member of the paparazzi or a fan or innocent photographer, who takes a picture that may be considered "offensive" or "an invasion of privacy" towards the individual.

To us, common folks, we are subjected to "offensive photographs" that are innocently posted on Facebook or Twitter on a daily basis but we don't plan to sue the photographer (or, at least, most of us anyway).

What Tyler is asking for is something that is usually afforded to the wealthy constituents of Hawaii.  Maui Senator Kalani English claims that the rock musician is "his constituent too."  Of course, Tyler may have a fatter wallet and more influence over many of his neighbors on the Valley Isle.

If the law is passed, celebrities will have the right to sue photographers who take pictures of them on private property but also in public places as well.  The law doesn't specify CLEARLY if a celebrity can sue if he or she is pictured in a public place such as a mall or airport or at the beach.  As long as the photograph is deemed "offensive" by the celebrity, the photographer can be sued.  In this case, a celebrity in Hawaii can take legal action against anyone whether it is a member of the paparazzi or a fan who takes a photo or attempts to take one. There are no limits on how many times a celebrity can sue.  

It does make sense to protect stars while they are in their homes or at a family function or on their property.  It also makes sense that an offensive photograph cannot be sold commercially.  However, the law is vague concerning the "right to privacy," what parameters are set to suing the offending party, and the location of the photograph can be on public property.

Supporters believe that the bill will protect innocent bystanders around celebrities from intrusive photographers, limiting any car chases or mobs of people that are often seen in Hollywood.

The State Attorney General David Louie and many people, who oppose the bill, believe that it is too vague and infringes on First Amendment Rights.

Steven Tyler is determined to make Hawaii into his own personal sanctuary free of photographers but that sounds like he's living on Fantasy Island.  He's better off staying within the confines of his property or he may want to think about changing his profession.                      

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