Actress and singer Hilary Duff recently called out on a photographer who was taking photos at her kid’s soccer game. She saw him standing on the touchline and approached him, filming the encounter with her phone. The two had a brief discussion, which Duff posted to her Instagram, publicly calling him out for being “a creep.”
The video shows Duff as she’s approaching the man who was taking photos at her kid’s soccer game. For some reason, she assumed that he wasn’t there with any of the parents or kids. So she asked who he was with, and the man said: “I’m here with me.”
Before even watching the video, it crossed my mind that he could be practicing his sport photography skills. And indeed, this is what he told Duff when she approached and asked why he was taking photos. He argued that it was legal, politely offering to show her his ID. On the other hand, she asked him to stop taking photos “human to human, as a mother,” arguing that him taking photos made her uncomfortable.
She shared the short video with her 14.6 million followers on Instagram, writing:
“Paparazzi shooting KIDS
Go ‘practice’ your photography on ADULTS! Creep! Laws need to change! This is stalking minors! Disgusting!”
Duff’s video caused quite a stir among the comments. One would think that the majority of people would be on her side. But from what I can see – they’re not. Some are siding with her, supporting her idea that laws need to change. However, many people believe that she was wrong to publicly humiliate the man like this. And just like the photographer, they argue that he did nothing illegal.
This reminded me of the case when another man was publicly called out for taking photos of kids in a public place. And just like then, I can’t really take sides. I think that both of them were right in some things and wrong in the others.
As for the photographer, I totally understand that he chose a kids’ soccer game to hone his skills. I guess it’s much more accessible than professional soccer games. Also, he was pretty polite when Duff approached and started questioning him. On the other hand, he could have taken photos at an adult amateur soccer game, just to avoid the fuss. Also, he kept arguing that he wasn’t doing anything illegal, even though Duff’s concerns clearly weren’t about whether this was legal or not.
When it comes to Hilary Duff, I understand her concern. I’m not a mother, but I can at least try to walk in her shoes and imagine what it feels like to be worried about your child’s safety. There are all sorts of people out there, after all. On the other hand, I believe that she approached the problem in a totally wrong way. She attacked the man for taking photos, yet she was filming him. And she decided to publicly humiliate him by sharing the video. That’s not cool, in my opinion.
If I were in the photographer’s place, I would approach parents or coach before the game, explain who I was and ask if they would let me take photos so I could hone my skills. I would offer to send them the photos, even. I understand that photographing kids is very sensitive, regardless of the fact that it’s legal to do it in public. And if I were in Hilary Duff’s place, I’d probably do this more elegantly and without publicly humiliating anyone. But those are just my two cents.
What would you do if you were in the photographer’s place? Or if you were a concerned parent? And do you think that laws regarding photographing kids in public need to change?