World Events

Harry and Meghan Get an Apology After Suing Paparazzi

Harry and Meghan — beloved by millions of fans, who see them as daring and modern, and vilified by an equally vehement faction that sees their tradition-spurning actions as unbecoming — have taken an unusually hard-line approach with the tabloid news media. In April, complaining of “an economy of click bait and distortion” and coverage that was “distorted, false and invasive beyond reason,” they told four leading British tabloid publishers that they would no longer deal with them. Meghan has sued the publisher of The Mail on Sunday, the sister paper of The Daily Mail, for publishing a private letter that she had sent to her estranged father in 2018. Another lawsuit, aimed at Splash News, involves photographs that were taken of Meghan and Archie this year in Vancouver, British Columbia.

In the X17 case, Harry and Meghan discovered that someone was shopping photos of their son to outlets around the world and had claimed they had been taken in public, according to the complaint, which noted that Archie had not been in public since the family arrived in Southern California. The photographs were published in the German magazine Bunte. Lawyers for the couple were able to move quickly enough to prevent their publication in the United States and Britain, however.

“Some paparazzi and media outlets have flown drones a mere 20 feet above the house, as often as three times a day, to obtain photographs of the couple and their young son in their private residence (some of which have been sold and published),” the lawsuit said. “Others have flown helicopters above the backyard of the residence, as early as 5:30 a.m. and as late as 7:00 p.m., waking neighbors and their son, day after day. And still others have even cut holes in the security fence itself to peer through it.”

X17 describes itself on its website as “Hollywood’s leading celebrity photo agency, servicing tens of thousands of media outlets around the world with our high quality photos and videos.” Variety magazine has characterized the operation as “a veritable spider web of photographers and undercover informants.” In 2003, Mr. Navarre had to pay Jennifer Aniston $550,000 to settle an invasion-of-privacy lawsuit over photos of her sunbathing topless in her backyard.

“Yeah, sure, it’s always a question of private life versus public life,” Mr. Navarre told The Los Angeles Times in 2007. “But you have an easy way to escape that. Get out of Los Angeles.”

In August, Harry and Meghan did just that, moving from Mr. Perry’s home in Beverly Hills to one in Montecito, an oceanside enclave about an hour north of Malibu. The couple bought the seven-acre estate for $14.7 million. It is gated and shrouded by trees.

The paparazzi helicopters have followed.


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