The campaign against the “pedorazzi,” actress Kristen Bell’s perhaps-less-than-catchy term for photographers who chase star kids, is close to Bell’s heart, and there’s no time like the pre-release period of a hotly anticipated film – “Veronica Mars,” the upcoming Kickstarter-funded feature about the highs school detective (Bell) resurrected from the culty 2004-2007 TV series – to gather media steam for your cause. And just as Veronica was good at the well-timed revelation, Bell has been handing a few to journalists.
This writer, for one, wanted to interview Bell for a feature for Newsday, the Long Island daily, and was told in no uncertain terms that there wouldn’t be an interview because Newsday was in the practice of running pictures of celebrities’ children without the approval of the celebrities in question (which is the target of the No Kids the campaign started by Bell and her husband, Dax Shepard).
What? Newsday? Impossible. Even the editor who assigned the story said it was impossible.
Well maybe not, because not everyone at any news outlet knows what everyone else is doing. And while the entertainment section certainly doesn’t condone the predatory behavior of paparazzi vis-à-vis innocent children, you never know what someone is doing somewhere else….
And of course, wouldn’t you know it: Bell’s people presented a long list of citations that linked to pictures of star kids clearly taken by paparazzi, and which appeared on Newsday’s website. Most were -- don’t laugh – links to the Parenting section.
Bell’s people were less interested in being punitive than stopping the practice altogether, and the Newsday editor was adamant that his paper was firmly against it. So are most people, one assumes. The tricky thing is that in the era of many-tentacled media, you don’t always know who or what you’re being associated with. It's a question of raising consciousness.
“Honestly, we have had this situation with several outlets already, who had no idea that their publications do it,” said a spokesman at Warner Home Video, which is handling the “Veronica Mars” rollout.
“It’s interesting that sort of an industry blacklist seems to be developing out of this celeb-kids issue,” said Steve Loeper, West Coast entertainment editor for the Associated Press. “So far, we’ve only touched on it as news story, but clearly we need to do more. As far as being part of the story, we haven’t experienced any backlash that I know of. Of course, we don’t do pap photography, especially kids, and even have very strict ground rules about interviewing kids who are willing to be interviewed.”
This cause seems destined to snowball – as long as the proper people know about it. “Some of our clients are supportive,” said Mara Buxbaum of ID-PR, who said she didn’t currently have a lot of clients doing press, or in a position to exclude any specific outlets. “However, I was at an event last night and I saw a celebrity skip an outlet because they had not signed on to support the No Kids policy. It was wonderfully impactful.”