Finally, on Monday night in New York, a gaggle of press photographers got the chance they'd been waiting for to stage their boycott. They kept their fingers off their triggers. No cameras flashed as George Clooney arrived at the premiere of his new film The Peacemaker.
Clooney, critical of tabloid press and TV, upped his complaints in the wake of Princess Diana's death, which occurred while she was pursued by freelance photographers. He held a press conference slamming the tabs, comparing them to crack-cocaine dealers. They've been trying to ignore him ever since.
Hollywood paparazzi had originally planned the Clooney snub for the Emmys, but the ER star was a no-show. So they had to wait for the opening of Peacemaker.
As he arrived at the Ziegfeld Theater, accompanied by his mother and father, fans behind the barricades clicked away but most of the 60 invited press photographers did not. When Clooney stepped up to shake fans' hands, he was loudly booed by the professionals who had lowered their lenses.
"Keep walking, George", one reportedly yelled. Another waved a "Go Home, Clooney" sign, according to USA Today. "We boycotted him to show that we have some restraint and that we're not a bunch of idiots running around with cameras and causing accidents," photographer Stephen Trupp told the Associated Press.
Later Clooney responded: "If I do something stupid, and you get a picture of it, I deserve it. I'm a public figure. But if you make it up, or if you cause the problem...then you're not trying to get a picture of me doing something stupid, you are getting me to act. You're trying to make me do something, and that's the problem."
The paparazzi have previously snubbed other critics of their trade, including Sly Stallone at a Planet Hollywood opening in Italy and Fran Drescher at the Emmys. However, shutterbugs didn't extend their boycott to Clooney's latest costar Nicole Kidman, even though her husband Tom Cruise said he'd been chased by paparazzi though the same tunnel as Diana and begged for tougher laws against such harassment.
After posing for the press, Kidman said, "The issue is not photographers at a premiere. It was very different from the kind of harassment that crosses the line."
Clooney knows where he wants the line to be drawn. In an interview airing Friday on Larry King Live the actor says, "I was in a bathroom in Australia, and a guy followed me...The guy took a picture of me taking a leak. I draw the line at taking a leak. I've got to draw it somewhere."