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My Open Letter To Jennifer Garner And Halle Berry

hallejennifer3-1024x570Dear Jennifer and Halle,

You recently testified in front of the California State Assembly Judiciary Committee on behalf of a proposed anti-paparazzi bill. From what we know, this bill is specifically designed to protect children, and would subject anyone who “seriously alarms, annoys, torments or terrorizes a child” to fines and jail time. I know that you and your children are photographed all the time by the paparazzi, and I understand that it is an annoyance, especially when the paps start calling you rude names in front of your kids. That part is terrible, and I condemn each and every paparazzo who crosses the line when it comes to harassing your children. No parent would ever want that for their kids.

Now, while testifying, Jennifer said that while she chose to be a public person, her three children are private citizens. Halle mentioned that the paps even taunted her daughter Nahla by saying that she might not ever see her father again. This, of course, is totally uncalled-for, cruel behavior, and I completely agree with you. Halle also said, “We aren’t just whiny celebrities… We’re moms who are just trying to protect our children.” These ladies admit to being public celebrities who just want to keep their kids out of the spotlight.

The only issue I have with Jennifer and Halle’s case here is that while they are celebrities, they have also branded themselves as celebrity mothers with their Hollywood images. Jennifer loves to talk about her three children, Violet, Seraphina, and Sam, whenever she has the opportunity to do so while promoting a new film or project. She talks about her parenting style, her husband Ben Affleck and what kind of great father he is, and so on. You can read the interviews here and here. And here. And here, too.

Same goes with Halle. She loves to talk about motherhood and parenting, and about her 5-year-old daughter Nahla. You can also read the interviews here, here and here. And here, too.

Now, as a parent, I love to talk about my children, too. I might not be a Hollywood celebrity, but I can understand their concern when it comes to protecting their children from stalking. Paparazzi is a form of stalking, as is cyber stalking for us non-celebrity citizens. I don’t want my children stalked, so do you know what I do? I keep my information private. I don’t tweet about my children, I don’t geo-tag their locations on Instagram, and I’ve made a conscious effort to not post pics of them on Facebook or talk about them in my status updates. Sure, while I love sharing my family milestones with my friends and family, I don’t feel totally comfortable sharing private details of my life with my 200 or so “friends” on Facebook.

As a parent, I do my best to protect in my children in whatever way, shape, or form I can. There are also millions of parents and celebrity parents who do the same. While there are a handful of celebrity families who are papped on a daily basis in Hollywood, there are also hundreds who manage to stay away from the spotlight, too. Just ask Matt Damon, who is almost never photographed with his kids, yet manages to walk them to school almost everyday. Same goes with Julia Roberts, or Penelope Cruz, or Pharrell Williams, or heck, even Megan Fox who has managed to keep her child hidden from the paps for the past year. Or better yet, ask Katie Holmes how she’s managed to keep her daughter Suri Cruise away from the paparazzi for months now, even though she’s still at the same school and location in New York City. I bet her life is a far cry now from the constant photo ops she had to endure while her mother was still married to Tom Cruise for many years. And of course, Suri has nobody but her mother to thank for that.

The list of celebrities who are not papped on a daily basis can go on and on. Now, Jennifer and Halle, I’m not saying that it’s your fault that you are being papped with your kids everyday, but when you visit the same country mart and order the same coffee at your local Starbucks, or go to the same Bristol Farms where you know the paps are hiding out almost everyday, common sense would say not to go there anymore. Unlike us average non-celebrities, you make millions and have the means to live anywhere around the world without being under the Hollywood microscope in Los Angeles. Peter Facinelli and Jennie Garth raised their children outside of Los Angeles two hours north in Santa Barbara and did just fine. Sure, the commute to L.A. must have been a pain, but their children were raised in a safe environment outside of the 90210 zip code.

So what I’m trying to say, ladies, is that you have choices. In fact, you have more choices than I, my friends, my family, and even my neighbors do. Be pro-active about those choices and your children won’t be subjected to the paparazzi scrutiny that they are unfortunately dealing with now. It’s your choice how much you want to share about your private life to the media, and where you want to get your coffee every morning. If I had some creepy dude waiting for me each and every time I visited my local Dunkin Donuts, you can bet that I would never step foot in that location again, even if that means going to the Krispy Kreme across town.

Xoxo

Joanna

ps. I also want to point out that none of the major celebrity magazines that you willingly grant interviews to about your personal lives – such as People magazine or Us Weekly and many more – have reported on your testimonies about the anti-paparazzi law this week.

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