Steven Tyler stood up to defend his corner of paradise today—and he won.
After hearing testimony from the Aerosmith frontman and fellow classic-rocker Mick Fleetwood, Hawaii's state Senate Judiciary Committee approved legislation that widens the scope of what constitutes invasion of privacy and makes it easier to file lawsuits against paparazzi who cross the line.
"First and foremost I'd like to say, being a personality, no matter where we go, we get shot [by photographers]. It's part of the deal-io, and it's OK, " Tyler, who recently bought a home on Maui, told the senators.
"It kind of drives us crazy, but, like my mom said, 'You asked for it, Steven,'" he said, prompting laughter from the audience.
"But when I'm in my own home," he added, "and I'm taking a shower or changing clothes or eating or spending Christmas with my children, and I see paparazzi a mile away, shooting at me with lenses this long, and then seeing that very picture in People magazine, you know, it hurts...That's what they do, they are just constantly taking from us."
Noted Fleetwood, "The islands shouldn't represent this to people coming here."
The Steven Tyler Act, or SB465, officially creates a civil cause for action for the "constructive invasion of privacy," making it possible to sue a shutterbug or other like-minded offender "if the person captures or intends to capture, in a manner that is offensive to a reasonable person, through any means a visual image, sound recording, or other physical impression of another person while that person is engaging in a personal or familial activity with a reasonable expectation of privacy."
Showering would definitely count.
The bill's opponents include the Hawaii chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists, which called it a too-vague limitation of First Amendment rights, and the National Press Photographers Association, which presented testimony on behalf of the SPJ, the Associated Press Media Editors, the American Society of News Editors and others.
If and when the Steven Tyler Act is passed by the full legislature and signed into law, it's due to take effect July 1.