Actress Halle Berry testifies in Sacramento in favor of California paparazzi bill

Assembly committee votes in favor of bill

SACRAMENTO, Calif. - Actress Halle Berry testified in favor of California legislation that would limit the ability of paparazzi to photograph the children of celebrities.

With dozens of journalists tailing her through the Capitol in Sacramento, Berry said Tuesday her daughter doesn't want to go to school because of the dozens of paparazzi that lie in wait and then jump out to take pictures of the 5-year-old with her Academy Award-winning mother.

"I have to yell, 'She's a child. Leave my child alone. Leave my child alone.' We get into the car, and my daughter is now sobbing, and she says to me, 'Are they going to kills us? Are they going to kill us?" Berry said.

Sen. Kevin DeLeon (D-Los Angeles) said of the current law, "Children continue to fall prey to intentional physical harassment because the law provided for weak penalties."

The Assembly Committee on Public Safety later voted in favor of the bill, despite opposition from journalism advocates who warned it could thwart newsgathering operations.

The media and the Motion Picture Association of America oppose the bill because there are already laws that crack down on the paparazzi.  

Melissa Patack of the MPAA said, "In this modern era where every person with a phone is a photographer, we want to ensure this bill does not encroach on the ability to snap a picture. We want to make sure it's aimed at the aggressive conduct."

Berry said her child no longer wants to go to school or anywhere with her.

"'Why can't you do something, mommy?' I have to look at my 5-year-old and say because I have no rights to do anything," said Berry.

The bill's author promised to tweak the anti-harassment bill to protect reporters and photographers.

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