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Stars campaign to keep kid shots out of media

LOS ANGELES (AP) - Suri Cruise did not ask for fame. Yet she's been chased by cameras practically from birth, with no choice in the matter, because her parents are Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes.

Kristen Bell is exasperated just thinking about it. "Suri Cruise is not fictional. She's a real little girl ... and it's just not fair," Bell says.

The 33-year-old actress and mother has been leading a growing movement among Hollywood stars aimed at reducing media demand for paparazzi images of celebrity kids and she's using the plight of 8-year-old Suri as an example.

Launched in January, Bell's No Kids Policy gained almost instant traction by hitting the entertainment media where it hurts: celebrity access, which translates into viewers, readers and profits.

Kristen Bell Speaks Out On Protecting Children From Paparazzi

Bell got a bunch of stars, from Jennifer Aniston to Jennifer Lawrence, who agreed to decline interviews with TV and text outlets that use paparazzi photos or video of children that were taken without their parents' consent. Then she met with entertainment media executives and told them either agree to her No Kids Policy or celebs will stay away.

Now, through upcoming media interviews and meetings with "mommy bloggers," Bell is taking her cause direct to consumers, asking them to consider the circumstances around the starry images that beckon at grocery check stands.

"There is no way for a child to wrap their head around the fact that they are a cog in this machine," Bell said in a recent interview. "All they experience is the predatory sense of being hunted."

And the actress would sooner quit the business than subject her 11-month-old daughter, Lincoln, to such a media scrum.

"I like being an actress very much," she said, "but I love being a mother and it is a very clear decision which one I would choose."

Bell and her famous colleagues can't outright refuse interviews as they leverage the power of celebrity to stomp out invasive imagery of kids; contracts typically obligate them to promote their movies and shows. But they can be picky about which outlets they'll work with.

Star-driven shows and magazines such as "Entertainment Tonight" and Us Weekly, which rely on images from freelance photographers and independent photo agencies to help illustrate their stories, say it's easy to support Bell's effort. But their interpretations of compliance vary.

"Entertainment Tonight" executive producer Brad Bessey said he would not use paparazzi-generated photos of celebrity kids under any circumstances, while Us Weekly editor-in-chief Mike Steele might consider such images in cases of breaking news involving the children.

Steele said the new policy hasn't impacted editorial operations at the magazine, other than requiring an extra step to get consent from celebrity parents before publishing images of their kids. Some agree and some don't, he said.

Like other entertainment news outlets, Us Weekly also uses social media for pictures of star children, which are inherently approved when posted by their celebrity parent.

So with varying sources for kid photos - approved or not - how does Bell monitor compliance? She and her publicist are doing it themselves, they say, and it isn't easy.

Tuan, a freelance paparazzo who shoots for the Phamous Photo agency, said he hasn't seen any change in demand for his pictures, which sometimes include unauthorized images of celebrity kids.

"We have these long lenses and keep our distance. We let them enjoy their weekend," Tuan said. "The kids generally don't know what's going on."

Two major celebrity-photo agencies, Splash News and x17, also continue to distribute paparazzi images of children. Both declined to be interviewed for this story.

Weekly magazines Life & Style, OK! and In Touch, and websites such as TMZ, haven't signed on to Bell's policy and continue to publish paparazzi pictures of kids. TMZ and OK! did not respond to multiple requests for an interview.

Bauer Media Group, which publishes Life & Style and In Touch, did not grant an interview, but said in a statement that its editors follow "rigorous guidelines." The company did not elaborate.

In Touch magazine runs a weekly feature called "oh baby!" filled with images of celebrity kids. A recent issue included various shots of Miranda Kerr and Orlando Bloom's 3-year-old son, Flynn.

It is not illegal in California to photograph a minor in public, but such photos can't be used commercially without a release. And steps are being taken in the California legislature against photographers who harass children of the famous.

Yet the power of celebrity and a mother's drive could be the most effective force of all.

Says Bell: "I'll argue until my dying day that my daughter should not be affected by my career choice."

Join the discussion

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gaydad4son18plus May 28 2014 at 9:27 AM

Ironic isn't it? These are the same hypocrites that went after Palins, Bushes and other conservative kids. Its okay if your a liberal to go after some conservatives kids, families, but please pass a law to make it illegal to come after liberal kids. Wow they sure are hypocrites and bigots.

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47 replies
wreinhart May 28 2014 at 9:22 AM

PLEASE . .. . these "concerned stars" pimp out their kids to the papparazzi whenever they feel they need some front page press for their career.

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7 replies
Richard May 28 2014 at 9:09 AM

No photographs of my children please......unless you are willing to shell out six figures for a private photo shoot.

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2 replies
selfenchanted Richard May 28 2014 at 12:30 PM

Exactly. The kids need money so they can go to Brown or Duke & hopefully have better careers than their whiny parents.

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shaymay2 Richard May 28 2014 at 10:20 PM

I know right, how dare they not want 30 or 40 people following their child's every move? They shouldn't be allowed to be kids...... I bet even some of them just had them to get a bigger paid day!

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sssprayfoam May 28 2014 at 9:11 AM

stupid celebrities make 1000% more than the rest of the work force out there so they can be in the spotlight and they cry because people want to take pictures of their family oh boo hoo

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10 replies
cglassmans May 28 2014 at 9:33 AM

your a celebrity, its something YOU wanted. Your whole family became celebrities when you decided that. You had to know that this was going to happen.

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7 replies
fgulli720 May 28 2014 at 9:07 AM

The times they are a' changing. Used to be that people would become activists and be enraged over the mass murder of civilians in foreign lands (which still goes on) or the annhilation of an entire generation of 19 year olds being shipped off to war...now its "mommy" movements about about creating a truly sheltered world for already privilged, out of touch, youths. The priorities have truly shifted.

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8 replies
tphkellie May 28 2014 at 9:20 AM

I think taking a photo of any child without the permission of the parent or guardian should be a crime. Children should be protected by their parents. However, actors CHOOSE to be actors and with that CHOICE comes lack of privacy. They and their families are in the spotlight because that's where they wanted to be and that's where they are paid to be. You can't have it both ways.

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17 replies
auntiesober.stoned May 28 2014 at 9:26 AM

better if we keep celebrities out of the media. alec baldwin. need i say more?

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2 replies
selfenchanted auntiesober.stoned May 28 2014 at 12:36 PM

If it weren't for him, how would Hilaria live like a diva & take her baby down with her?

How much has she been paid to do her AW yoga poses on planes & other exotic sites?

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1 reply
Scooter selfenchanted May 28 2014 at 9:33 PM

Heh heh...that's hilaria.

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Victoria auntiesober.stoned May 28 2014 at 2:52 PM

Yes, more interested in what is happening to all our soldiers. If they will ALL come b ack home

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LMetz11822 May 28 2014 at 12:23 PM

To "gaydad4son18plus", first off who is going to take your comments seriously with a screen name like the one you posted with. Secondly, you try to make a case that there is some sort of conspiracy to protect just the kids of liberal parents. You even went on try to say that "these are the same hypocrites that went after the Palin's, Bush's, and other conservative kids."

So let me stop you there before people start tearing up over your version of the plight of the poor victimized conservatives kids. The first thing that you need to realize is that Palin or Bush are politicians and not all politicians are conservative. The other thing that you need to realize is that regardless of whether or not politicians and/or other celebrities are liberal or conservative; any law passed in California to protect their children from the paparazzi is not going to help them unless they live in California, which Palin or Bush do not.

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5 replies
bdgrizcp May 28 2014 at 9:10 AM

Keep in mind the demand creates the supply--pretty much. There's a fortune to be made out there, someone will want to get a piece of it, and the real people they stalk do not have much of a say in the matter. Seems to me that predatory photogs should be treated as just that--stalkers. Does CA not have effective anti-stalking laws? If so, they should be enforced, if not they should be toughened.

I have so far avoided wondering WHY anyone would even be remotely interested in celeb kids anyway. Seems like it's a mental health issue.

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1 reply
selfenchanted bdgrizcp May 28 2014 at 12:44 PM

You'd be amazed how many harmless - yet very annoying - women need something to coo over with their friends. Even if they have kids & grandchildren of their own, they can't get enough of cute little hopes for the future.

Spare me, indeed.

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