Los Angeles (September 30, 2005) – Following heavy lobbying by Screen Actors Guild, California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger today signed into state law legislation that will create stricter penalties for photographers who physically invade the privacy of those they are attempting to photograph or who commit assault in the pursuit of photographs. The new law, Assembly Bill 381, which was also championed by Assembly member Cindy Montanez (D-San Fernando), also makes photographers liable for punitive damages for any proceeds that result from the sale of photos taken under such circumstances.
Screen Actors Guild President Alan Rosenberg and former President Melissa Gilbert worked together to enlist the help of fellow Guild members Scarlett Johansson, Nick Lachey and Reese Witherspoon to urge Governor Schwarzenegger to sign the bill. In a letter sent to the governor on September 28, the group stated: “While the vast majority of photographers are professional and courteous, some paparazzi use extreme tactics that result in intimidating situations and frightening accidents. As an actor, and as our governor, you are no stranger to paparazzi who threaten your safety, and the safety of those around you."
Guild President Rosenberg said: “This is a victory for Guild members who have been terrorized by unprofessional paparazzi. I’m thrilled that Melissa Gilbert and I had the chance to work on this together for the good of our members. I applaud the members who stood up and advocated with their union on this issue of great concern to Guild members.”