Hugh Grant’s brush with the law for a cafuffle with a rouge snapper has resulted in my inbox being besieged by requests from fevered media outlets wanting me to comment on whether his career is over . In the 24/7 news cycle, Hugh is a top topic after losing it with a papp, and many are of the opinion that it will be curtains for Grant.
Let’s just cast our minds back a few years, when Hugh recovered from something far more risqué than throwing a take away tub at a photographer! Wasn’t the king fop caught in flagrante with an LA prostitute? This illicit pleasure and heinous act didn’t destroy his box office pull in Middle America. This all runs parallel with my own client Noel Edmonds, being snapped by yet another of those vultures, who circle the celebrity veldt searching for showbiz carrion.
Noel’s crime was to park in a disabled bay outside the David Lloyd fitness centre in Bristol while launching an awareness campaign for prostate cancer. David Lloyd has a new manager who must have decided to tip off the papers. There is now a constant frustration for both celebrities and publicists at this underclass of paparazzi who exploit the digital age.
There is no skill involved, just a digital tool and being at the right place at the right time. They have no relationship with publicists, celebrities nor facts, they just peddle their snaps for cash. Hugh Grant’s career will not end just because he got exasperated with one of these persistent jackals. And don’t give me the spiel that every celebrity has made their name by using the paparazzi; the people I’m talking about are rogue snappers with no respect for anyone.
I have had good working relationships with numerous paparazzi, Richard Young, Alan Davidson, Dave Bennett and James Peltekian. They know the code and they work hard to get their shots and they do it by the book. It’s sometimes an uneasy relationship but it’s always fair and bound by a mutual respect for each others’ craft. But I fear that tabloid TV which, I know, I have done many noddys for, is actually making heroes out of these simians who have no manners, are thick skinned and generally downright rude. Their intent is to drag someone else through the same swill pit that they bathe in every day. I really believe that the public is now beginning to differentiate between the real craftsmen and the carpet baggers. God knows the ranks grow every day and fortunes can be made from a candid shot.
The French paparazzi that pursued Diana, Princess of Wales down that tunnel became notable overnight because of their antics, but that hasn’t been the death for this generation’s paparazzi, which are even more like jackals scavenging for a picture that will swell their bank balance.
News organisations can distance themselves from these piranhas’ modus operandi because they are freelance and when they get a killer picture, the news organisation will consider the risks of stirring up the wrath of the P.C.C. It all emphasises the true price of celebrity and whatever letter celeb they are, A, B, D or Z, sooner or later after being pursued relentlessly for a snap, they will be asking themselves whether it’s really worth being a celebrity at all.