The 60-year-old actor said so in an open letter to Britain’s Daily Mail and other media on Thursday, asking them not to post pictures of his children. Clooney argued that because his wife, human rights lawyer Amal Clooney, combats terrorist groups, posting pictures of their twins would put their children’s lives at risk.
The media should honor Clooney’s request, of course, but they should also refrain from posting pictures of anyone’s children in the public eye without permission. Clooney is correct that the nature of his wife’s job increases the need for privacy in order to protect their twins. But, even if it didn’t, it’s unreasonable for the paparazzi to target the children of any celebrity.
Having to dodge adults’ attempts to record them on a public playground, at school or on a walk robs a child of his childhood. This prevents them from enjoying the carefree moments that should be everyone’s birthright. Every child should have the chance to get through their tough teenage phase, miss an easy shot at basketball practice, and experiment with fashionable clothes without their every move being recorded for posterity.
This constant surveillance also deprives them of the anonymity to explore the world and make new friends without people knowing their parents’ identities. A kid making a new soccer practice buddy between camera flashes can never tell if the person is genuine or if they just want access to a famous family.
Plus, part of the growth process involves making mistakes and exploring different identities. A child who cannot step out into the world without being known as George Clooney’s daughter or son is unlucky – a denial of anonymity the child never subscribed to.
Being targeted by photographers also endangers a person’s safety. Think how Princess Diana died in a car crash as her driver fled from the paparazzi, or tabloid photos of Britney Spears driving with her unbuckled son in her lap. Spears later said she was trying to avoid the photographers, explaining, “I instinctively took steps to get my baby and I out of harm’s way, but the paparazzi continued to stalk us.” No child should ever be endangered like this.
And a child who has these kinds of experiences is likely to be afraid of going out into the world; swarms of paparazzi confuse even adults. The pandemic has shown us all firsthand how terrible it is for the mental health of children not to be able to leave their homes. No child should be forced to live a caged existence like this in a post-pandemic world, regardless of the luxury of their home.
In his letter, Clooney argued that he himself never publishes pictures of his children, but this is also irrelevant. Parents should have the right to share a vacation photo with fans without allowing paparazzi to stalk their children on their way to school.
Clooney specifically mentioned the Daily Mail because the tabloid had published photos of actor Billie Lourd’s one-year-old child, later removing them. Going forward, the Daily Mail and all other media and websites should adopt a strict policy against posting pictures of children of people in the public eye, unless they have been specifically authorized by them. parents of the child or the parents of the child. have chosen to bring them to an event knowing in advance that the media will be present (such as a movie premiere).
Photographers must also be encouraged to stop this practice. The media should refuse to hire photographers who take pictures of celebrity children without permission. And when readers see such photos in the media, we need to express our outrage. The horrible truth is that if the public did not create demand for these images, the practice would end.
It’s time to distract the public’s attention from the children of the celebrities and the publishers, photographers and consumers who tamper with these photos. Every child should have the right to move around the world without fear of being stalked by adults. Children of people in the public eye should be treated as the vulnerable human beings that they are – and not as figures for public consumption.