Steven Tyler attended a legislative hearing on Friday on a bill which he is the face of and would limit people’s freedom to take photos and videos of celebrities. Opponents, however, say that the bill could be unconstitutional.
Hawaii’s Senate Judiciary Committee plans to consider the ‘Steven Tyler Act’. This will be the first time that lawmakers will discuss this bill publicly.
A publicist for Aerosmith told the Associated Press on Thursday that Tyler submitted a written testimony supporting the proposal, which would allow people to collect damages from someone who photographs them in an offensive way during their personal or family time.
Tyler said in a statement emailed to the Associated Press:
“The paradise of Hawaii is a magnet for celebrities who just want a peaceful vacation. As a person in the public eye, I know the paparazzi are there and we have to accept that. But when they intrude into our private space, disregard our safety and the safety of others, that crosses a serious line that shouldn’t be ignored.”
More than a dozen celebrities have submitted a testimony supporting the bill, including Britney Spears, Neil Diamond, Avril Lavigne, and the Osbourne family.
Senator Kalani English said he introduced the bill at the request of Tyler. More than two-thirds of the state’s senators have co-sponsored the bill.
Opponents say the bill could be unconstitutional.
Laurie Temple, an attorney at the American Civil Liberties Union, said the bill would punish freedoms of expression protected by the First Amendment. She said lawmakers should support better enforcement of current stalking laws rather than passing a new legislation.
The National Press Photographer’s Association, as well as the Motion Picture Association of America also do not support this bill. They say that the bill could make it harder to police movie privacy because there’s no exemption for law enforcement who might want to take photos of video of people they’re investigating.
The bill doesn’t specify whether public places would be exempt. The bill says it would apply to people who take photos from boats or anywhere else within ocean waters.
The Honolulu Star-Advertiser calls the lawmakers that support this bill “star-struck.” They also said that this bill might not only affect journalists. They say it can make lawbreakers out of anyone taking photographs in a public place, including people just take a picture on their cell phone.