While being a famous celebrity in Hollywood certainly has its perks, it can also come with some frightening moments. On Monday night, actress Scarlett Johansson appeared on Jimmy Kimmel Live! alongside her Avengers: Endgame co-stars Robert Downey Jr., Chris Hemsworth and Paul Rudd to promote the upcoming film.
Though she seemed to come off as very ordinary and down to Earth, the reality of Johansson’s fame and status quickly set in after she left the show as a group of alarming paparazzi continued to stalk the Marvel star and her five-year-old daughter. Thankfully, nobody was hurt and no real crime was committed, but she was still very spooked by the incident.
Johansson put out a statement this week where she explained the situation and discussed how paparazzi put people’s lives at risk, saying:
“Yesterday, after leaving the Jimmy Kimmel Show, I was followed by 5 cars full of men with blacked out windows who were running red lights and putting other drivers and pedestrians at risk so they could follow me to find out where I was staying and subsequently stalk me and my young daughter for the duration of my stay,” Johansson wrote.
“The paparazzi put people’s lives at risk, so they can wait for days in quiet neighborhoods in blacked out cars and try to follow me to the playground and photograph my child and other people’s children in a safe place that should be off limits but isn’t. All of this is perfectly legal. After yesterday’s incident, I felt it was my duty as a concerned citizen who was being pursued dangerously and stalked to go to the local precinct and seek guidance there. I would encourage others in a similar situation to go to the police.”
The actress went on to discuss how this startling event was an example of how paparazzi have continued to become a huge problem for both celebrities and regular civilians alike, especially for women. She added that law enforcement should immediately start thinking of new ways to prevent stalking and says it’s just a waiting game until another person gets seriously injured or killed by paparazzi, using the death of Princess Diana as an example.
“The paparazzi consistently go to increasingly dangerous lengths to stalk and harass the people they are photographing,” she wrote. “Even after Princess Diana’s tragic death, the laws were never changed to protect targets from the lawless paparazzi. Many paparazzi have criminal pasts and will perform criminal acts to get their shot.”
“Women across the US are stalked, harassed and frightened and a universal law to address stalking must be at the forefront of law enforcement conversations. Until paparazzi are considered by the law for the criminal stalkers they are, it’s just a waiting game before another person gets seriously injured or killed, like Princess Diana,” she concluded.
Diana, Princess of Wales, was tragically killed back in 1997 after a car crash in a tunnel that took her life along with her companion Dodi Fayed and their driver Henri Paul. She’d became a beloved and relatable figure in the British media even after her divorce from Prince Charles, where she constantly was getting attention from people in the United Kingdom as well as the United States. Given that, her death quickly became one of the most covered news stories of the decade and many people to this day blame the paparazzi for the deadly crash as they were dangerously following her car.
While this initiated many conversations about the potential danger that photographers and stalkers present, it’s clearly still an issue today. Though celebrities who willingly put themselves in the public eye usually have to forfeit a lot of their privacy, paparazzi have continued to take it one step too far and become even more harmful over time with smartphones and social media.
In this particular case, the people following Johansson were not only invading her safety but putting others at risk by blocking off cars and running traffic lights. Hopefully, this will reignite imperative conversations about the ways paparazzi continuously break the law and how to prevent these situations in the future.
On a brighter note, fans will soon be able to check out Scarlett Johansson in Avengers: Endgame, which hits theaters on April 26th.