Photographer sues Hilary Duff for defamation after she called him “a creep”

Feb 23, 2021

Dunja Djudjic

Dunja Djudjic is a multi-talented artist based in Novi Sad, Serbia. With 15 years of experience as a photographer, she specializes in capturing the beauty of nature, travel, and fine art. In addition to her photography, Dunja also expresses her creativity through writing, embroidery, and jewelry making.

Photographer sues Hilary Duff for defamation after she called him “a creep”

Feb 23, 2021

Dunja Djudjic

Dunja Djudjic is a multi-talented artist based in Novi Sad, Serbia. With 15 years of experience as a photographer, she specializes in capturing the beauty of nature, travel, and fine art. In addition to her photography, Dunja also expresses her creativity through writing, embroidery, and jewelry making.

Join the Discussion

Share on:

In February 2020, actress and singer Hilary Duff publicly called out on photographer Darryl Wilkins calling him “a creep.” Now the photographer is reportedly suing her for defamation, along with talk show host Wendy Williams who sided with Duff on her talk show.

If you missed the story, here’s a short overview. Hilary Duff approached Wilkins who was taking photos at her kid’s soccer game. She was filming the encounter with her phone and asked the photographer who he was with, to which he responded: “I’m here with me.”

Duff asked why he was taking photos, and he explained that he was practicing his photography skills. He argued that it was legal, and even offered to show his ID. But it wasn’t enough for Duff, who kept insisting that he stopped taking photos because “it made her uncomfortable.”

After the encounter, Duff shared an IGTV video with her then 14.6 million followers, writing this caption:

“Paparazzi shooting KIDS

Go ‘practice’ your photography on ADULTS! Creep! Laws need to change! This is stalking minors! Disgusting!”

Duff’s video went viral, and it’s still on her Instagram at the time of writing this. It reached talk show host Wendy Williams who played it in her talk show, The Wendy Williams Show. But she didn’t only play it, she offered her opinion, as PetaPixel reports:

“Creepy to me. Sir, if you’re practicing photography, why wouldn’t you go into a park and take pictures of birds and butterflies?”

The clip from the talk show was on YouTube, but it has been made private in the meantime. But I’d like to tell Ms. Williams that not all of us take photos of birds and butterflies when practicing photography. Heck, I don’t even have appropriate lenses for neither!

Anyways, after both Duff and Williams expressed their opinions publicly and without any class or taste, Wilkins reportedly decided to sue. The Blast claims that they have obtained the court documents and that Wilkins is suing Duff and Williams for libel and slander. He reportedly insists that he was shooting in a public park to test out his new camera, which is more or less what he told Duff in the video.

At the moment there aren’t many details about the lawsuit. But as soon as we know more, we’ll update the article or share the news in a separate post. And if I may add a very personal opinion here: I hope that Wilkins will win.

[via Light Stalking]

Find this interesting? Share it with your friends!

Dunja Djudjic

Dunja Djudjic

Dunja Djudjic is a multi-talented artist based in Novi Sad, Serbia. With 15 years of experience as a photographer, she specializes in capturing the beauty of nature, travel, and fine art. In addition to her photography, Dunja also expresses her creativity through writing, embroidery, and jewelry making.

Join the Discussion

DIYP Comment Policy
Be nice, be on-topic, no personal information or flames.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

50 responses to “Photographer sues Hilary Duff for defamation after she called him “a creep””

  1. Robert Hicks Avatar
    Robert Hicks

    Let’s keep the kids inside with the care givers that commit 99.9% of all attacks instead of letting them outdoors where people might *shudder* see them

  2. Marcin Pietrzak Avatar
    Marcin Pietrzak

    World is really sick!!! Taking pic of child when have fun, when is nothy and smiling when is just a kid as should be… what is wrong with it? I agree that children should be protected but dont do paranoia from that.

    1. Pauli Purtilo Avatar
      Pauli Purtilo

      Yeah.. Henri Cartier-Bresson was just sick pervert. Taking streetphoto at kids.

      (Sarcasm)

  3. Daniel Bksz Avatar
    Daniel Bksz

    Me too! I watched the video and this woman is nothing but an attention seeking c**t. If she is so worried about her kids, she wouldn’t fill her instagram with them. End of story.

    1. Michael Goolsby Avatar
      Michael Goolsby

      I was reminded of the plot of the SOUTH PARK movie in which the parents are so concerned about their kids watching Terrence and Phillip fart and say naughty words that they do not notice that they are actually causing a war.

  4. Amanda Graves Avatar
    Amanda Graves

    I’m sorry but if a parent asks you to stop photographing the children then you stop.
    They both were wrong. He could have gotten permission to photograph the kids beforehand and she could have handled the situation better but yeah both are at fault

    1. Frank Nazario Avatar
      Frank Nazario

      HE DOES NOT NEED PERMISSION WHEN THE SUBJECT IS IN A PUBLIC SPACE AND IN PLAIN VIEW WHERE PRIVACY CONCERNS ARE NOT SUBJECT TO VALIDATION… please, stop this type of thought about asking permission…if you do something in public and are photographed as long as that does NOT go commercial IT IS OK!

    2. Michael Goolsby Avatar
      Michael Goolsby

      Tell us, Karen, what the difference is between his photographs and the photographs taken by all of the parents who capture children in their pictures other than their own. We’ll wait….

    3. Renlish Avatar
      Renlish

      Correction, if a parent asks you to stop photographing THEIR child or children, you can stop if you want to.

      Men with pro gear in parks aren’t the enemy. Look to the sidelines and check out the actual creeps taking sneaky pictures with their phones.

  5. Anna Diciero Avatar
    Anna Diciero

    He should have stopped when she asked. He seems nice, but it it weird him out taking pics of other peoples kids.

    1. W Douglas LeBlanc Avatar
      W Douglas LeBlanc

      And, what if it was a sports photographer from the local tribune papers? Should there be PRESS credentials visible and required?

      1. D.Sigrey Avatar
        D.Sigrey

        Well he wasn’t and if he was he would have had credentials. He also would have explained himself in a much more professional way.

        1. tchall Avatar
          tchall

          I never had “credentials” as a stringer, yet I’ve had hundreds of pictures published by newspapers.

          My hobby has resulted in people seeing quite a few newsworthy scenes. Mom’s seeing their kids plays, Soldier’s families seeing them in NATO exercises practicing their skills

          Hopefully you’ll get someone with “credentials” if you ever need CPR of First Aid … i suggest you check throughly before allowing them to help.

    2. Eve Jé Avatar
      Eve Jé

      W Douglas LeBlanc Yeah well if that was the case then he could also have presented himself to the parents and asking them if it’s ok that he is photographing or if there are children that shouldn’t be photographed. I don’t get it what you don’t understand about concent? This is the basic respectful thing to do when you are a photographer in a public event. This is also the basic respectful respond to just stop when someone ask you to stop. This goes for the photography, but also for all the aspects of life. That’s worrying me a lot to see you all dudes not reflecting more on your practice of photography.

      1. Arthur_P_Dent Avatar
        Arthur_P_Dent

        The law in most places is if you’re in public, you’re fair game for a photographer. No consent necessary. Do you think the parents taking pictures at the game were asking the other parents for permission? I think not.

      2. Justin Disher Avatar
        Justin Disher

        I regularly shoot sports photography myself for both the hockey teams I manage directly and other sports organizations within our region. I have been doing this for about 13 years now and have experienced a few uncomfortable encounters as this photog has, especially when I was first starting out. It’s definitely a balancing act, and I have had parents occasionally ask me not to photograph their children so I won’t target those children directly in my shots however in team sports I do not think it’s fair to the others on the team to take down every photo that where they may appear in the background so a compromise is needed. As a male, I often avoid shooting female-only events or those with younger children unless I am directly involved with coaching one of the teams but I widely shoot events for the high schools in my area where I am not directly involved. Several smaller schools really appreciate this and use my photos in their yearbooks and during their sports banquets. With my own teams I always send an e-mail at the start of the season introducing myself and making them aware of who I am and what I am doing but I also like to photograph opposing teams. I always attempt to e-mail the other coaches links to my photos afterwards and nearly all have been extremely grateful for them. It’s funny I can’t recall any out-of-town parents ever approaching me at games asking who I am but every instance where a parent has approached me has been a local (who in most cases should have known who I am because I have been both a Registrar and Coach in our Association for several years and had repeated contact with them either in person or by e-mail regarding their registrations). I realize the laws are different in certain places (Quebec and USA, where the subject generally owns the rights to their own images, not the photograph) and therefore I try to conform to the laws as best as I can when they differ from the laws of my province where I can shoot more freely.

    3. Frank Nazario Avatar
      Frank Nazario

      I used to work at theme parks and believe me when I say there are tens of thousands of people that photograph kids in public places and yes that is a type of photography that has to be practiced just as any other kind of photography

    4. Michael Goolsby Avatar
      Michael Goolsby

      SHOULD have stopped? What is the basis for your “should” claim?

      1. D.Sigrey Avatar
        D.Sigrey

        Because the parent asked you to. Pretty simple.

  6. Eve Jé Avatar
    Eve Jé

    Not the first time I see problematic posts on this page. I will of course unfollow, but just to say that this photographer not respecting a parent who is asking him to stop photographing children, calling her paranoiac, is really problematic. This male photographer clearly didn’t think a bit further what kind of distress could cause his action. Even if it’s legal how can we know how he is using these photos? I am just amazed how this page gather some photographers that clearly don’t think further than “he was just taking photos”. So no, I don’t hope he wins, I just hope that he can start a deeper reflexion on his practice of photography.

    1. Rebecca Maier Avatar
      Rebecca Maier

      Eve Jé people forget her “paranoia” comes being a child star and I can understand her concern growing up in that environment being a bit scared. She did ask him to stop and asked if he knew anyone. Practicing photography is cool. The better way should of offered the team photos of the game and such. I feel he could of went about this differently if he planned to do this photography to practice. Maybe even compromised with her to de-escalate the situation.

      That’s my two cents.

      1. jamesgordonpatterson Avatar
        jamesgordonpatterson

        I hope he sues the hell out of her… I don’t care what her issues as a child were. It’s bad enough she hassled him. Then she went on television to slander him. A similar thing happened to me… Now, ladies… if YOU were photographing, I am guessing there wouldn’t be an objection. Hillary will pay for her stupid mouth as well she should. I’d say to the photographer… you are going to get some nice equipment money out of this.

        1. Michael Goolsby Avatar
          Michael Goolsby

          And he even has a video that she posted herself expressing her INTENT to harm his image in the public (her “15 million fans”).

  7. Steven Naranjo Avatar
    Steven Naranjo

    The right to Public photography has to be absolute. She had every right to engage him and ask him to politely stop. He had every right to ignore her request. But the bottom line, regardless of personal comfort, he was not doing anything illegal. There are much large implications here beyond kids having their photos taken. If people are too narrow sighted to see that, I don’t know then.

    1. Steven Naranjo Avatar
      Steven Naranjo

      Dave Ferringo “harassing manner” is the key phrase, and harassment is very specific

  8. Bill McKenzie Avatar
    Bill McKenzie

    So after 10 comments it appears guys think it is ok and women think it is wrong.

    A few years ago our camera club had a well known photographer run a Saturday workshop in a park with our 50 members. After each assignment it became clear that the female photographers had no problem taking photos of kids doing kid things but all the male photographers were way too concerned to take any photos with kids. The guys were afraid of being labeled as pedos.

    1. Michael Goolsby Avatar
      Michael Goolsby

      Twenty years ago, I thought I might take my career in a music in a different direction and teach. I specifically wanted to teach small children, maybe K to 3. Why? Well, my daughter was 5 at the time and I was spending a lot of time in her kindergarten class helping the teachers, chaperoning field trips, and so forth. I loved the age and the kids responded well to me. I enrolled in my first education class (I already had a degree and 7 years of college) at a nearby school. Early on, the class was asked what grades interested us. After class, the professor approached me warned me that virtually no school would hire a man to teach children that young because of the “pedo” fears. I was so discouraged that I immediately left program and became a photographer (my father’s business which I grew up with). Over the years, I would have more than a few clients comment on my ability to work well with those very ages.

  9. Vincent Cyr Avatar
    Vincent Cyr

    Gotta say, the law is pretty clearly on his side here. He was photographing them at an event in a public place, where privacy protections are null. As long as he didn’t make commercial use(specifically, utilize them to sell something)of the photos, he doesn’t need permissions to take them. And Duff’s and Williams’s public vilification of him certainly qualifies as defamation. It’s kind of a slam dunk for him. I do agree that he likely could have handled it better, and that the polite option when confronted by someone who doesn’t want their or their childrens pictures taken is to simply comply(I have personally deleted photos when approached and asked to) but the point is he did nothing illegal, and by calling him creepy on Instagram and TV, they did open themselves up to a defamation lawsuit.

    1. Michael Goolsby Avatar
      Michael Goolsby

      The video doesn’t lie. The only thing it doesn’t really show is whether and to what extent he was “injured”. As a nobody, I would expect me to be able to show much injury. (Although if hateful people damaged my property or injured me or threatened to injure me based upon her video, the element of injury might be sustained. We don’t know if that happened here.)

  10. D.Sigrey Avatar
    D.Sigrey

    He may have the right to take the images in a public place, but proving defamation is not on his side. He has to prove that she has done irreparable damage to his career and his name.

    1. Michael Goolsby Avatar
      Michael Goolsby

      The fact that “you” are only hearing about it now is utterly irrelevant.

      1. D.Sigrey Avatar
        D.Sigrey

        Not really. He has to prove that “she” did damage that can’t be repaired. He won’t be able to do that. Defamation is really hard to prove.

        1. Michael Goolsby Avatar
          Michael Goolsby

          You argument was a variation of the “argumentum ad populum” fallacy, essentially saying that “if I haven’t heard about it, then it is not true”. I put “you” in quotes, D.Sigrey, because whether “you” personally have previously heard about it or not is absolutely irrelevant. We do have some real facts, however: Duff made a unprivileged, public statement about an individual. There we have three of the five elements of defamation, already. What we do not know are the remaining two elements: was the statement false, and did it cause injury? These things are completely unknown to us (notwithstanding your own personal “factual” claim). But if these two elements are also shown to be satisfied, then I would suggest that her additional statement regarding her intent to post and share with her “15 millions fans on Instagram so they can see what kind of creep you are” (to that effect) goes further by demonstrating an INTENT to cause him harm. And while intent is not one of the five elements required, it is an essential element to a cause of action for intentional infliction of emotional distress. Whether this is an open-or-shut case or not, her lawyer is probably not thanking her right now. I suspect that she will settle out of court for an undisclosed sum.

          1. D.Sigrey Avatar
            D.Sigrey

            Like I said above, he was his own worst enemy in this. If you’re shooting random people (children) and someone with them asks you to stop, you stop. You don’t come with the “it’s legal” argument. He was the escalator in this, not Duff. Had he said “sorry, I was just trying out a new lens, I’ll stop” this would have ended there. If it didn’t then maybe he has a case. He lost credibility when he argued from the start. Parents (Duff) are going to come with the protection of their children in mind, had he did nothing to calm the situation at all. Keep in mind, Duff has dealt with paparazzi for a good chunk of her life so she already has a heightened distrust of random photographers. He handled it about as poorly as he could have.

          2. Michael Goolsby Avatar
            Michael Goolsby

            You’re making personal claims and nothing else. The law absolutely does not agree with you. All we are left with is your own personal opinion, which really matters nothing. According to you, mere dissent is all that is necessary in order to justify total compliance. We don’t live in that world. And neither do the paparazzi.

          3. D.Sigrey Avatar
            D.Sigrey

            Whatever buddy. He will lose this in court. Grown man taking pictures of children that are not his own refusing to stop when asked by parent. Case closed. Add that to the fact that less than 13% of all defamation cases are successful and this guys got nothing. Just cause it’s legal doesn’t mean anything.

          4. Michael Goolsby Avatar
            Michael Goolsby

            I have no idea if he’ll win or not. Your argument that he should have stopped when demanded of him ignores something important, however. If he was wrong, why isn’t she suing HIM? The answer is simple: he did nothing illegal. Thus, your argument is at best a poor attempt at raising an affirmative defense that has no basis whatsoever in law. And when arguing in a courtroom, that is the only thing which does have any meaning. (BTW: “Whatever” is not an argument. And Googled statistics will never make it inside a courtroom. You have repeatedly demonstrated ineptness in arguing, so there is no reason to continue. Anyone can pull mere opinion out of their ass. I had hoped for something more tangible and intelligent and here. Best of luck to you.)

          5. D.Sigrey Avatar
            D.Sigrey

            The question isn’t legality, it’s defamation. Did she defame him? Good luck making that arguement. As soon as he opened his mouth he threw out any luck of winning. He handled the situation like an ass and got what he deserved. As someone that shoots in pu lic places often, I certainly know how to handle a situation like that. It’s not by arguing from the start.

        2. Michael Goolsby Avatar
          Michael Goolsby

          You have enough facts already to decide that he can’t support his claim? HOW DO YOU KNOW THAT?

          1. D.Sigrey Avatar
            D.Sigrey

            I don’t. All I’m saying is it’s very hard to prove defamation in a court of law. And let’s be honest here, if you’re shooting a group of children (or anyone really) and someone with them asks you to stop, you should agree to stop or expect the reaction he got. Had he explained himself without saying “it’s not illegal” over and over and just agreed to stop it would have ended there. He didn’t help him self at all.

  11. John Meyer, AF4JM Avatar
    John Meyer, AF4JM

    If the judge has half a clue he’ll tell the pedo “Get out of my court, creep!” Kudos to Duff & Williams for defending kids against sick people!

    1. Michael Goolsby Avatar
      Michael Goolsby

      Fortunately for justice, the judge’s sworn oath of professional ethics bars him from making the type of swift determination you have made before all of the relevant facts are presented. Yes, you can have your own opinion. But what you are advocating for here has nothing to do with a properly working judiciary process.

    2. Digame Paz Avatar
      Digame Paz

      This is sarcasm, right?

      1. John Meyer, AF4JM Avatar
        John Meyer, AF4JM

        No, it’s not. If some stranger started taking pictures of my kid I’d be offended too, as Duff rightfully was. The sad part of this is that when it’s done, it will still be legal for this so-called-photographer to legally go within 1000 feet of schools.

        Practicing photography doesn’t require being in a place reserved/utilized by a group of kids you have no affiliation with, and defending your children is NOT slander.

  12. Michael Goolsby Avatar
    Michael Goolsby

    She was out of line, legally and ethically.

  13. Michael Goolsby Avatar
    Michael Goolsby

    It’s concerning to me how so many (mostly females) in these comments understand NOTHING about public photography. This stuff has been litigated ad nauseum. I would wager that it had been a WHITE FEMALE photographing in this PUBLIC PARK, the photographer would not have been approached at all. Or if it had, it might have more likely been “Hey! That’s an awesome camera! Will you be posting these on Facebook for us to see? Let’s be BFFs!” I appreciate any parent wanting to “protect” their children. This man explained what he was doing. He didn’t have to. She then ignored his position, implying that they needed protecting from HIM, and continued to demand that he stop. Then, knowing that she was a publically-known figure, she used her position of advantage to publically defame him. Maybe he is the one who needs protection from her.

    1. Steven Dale Avatar
      Steven Dale

      I wonder what the reaction would be if a black women had asked a white photographer to desist and had gone on to defame the photographer in this way. That underlines for me how much is wrong with modern culture and society in general, especially when it involves celebrities.

  14. Renlish Avatar
    Renlish

    Absolutely ridiculous. He’s done nothing wrong. Taking pictures in a public place is not illegal. Sure, anyone could ask him to stop but he has the right to refuse to do so.

    It is not weird or creepy to want to practice candid photography. I have taken new cameras out for a spin in parks to take pictures of people and kids too. The difference between this guy and me? I’m a white female and therefore “safe”. I’ve been questioned once but the matter ended as soon as I said why I was taking pictures.

    Duff has gone for the obvious scary black man with the big camera doing actual photography and totally overlooked the half a dozen or so REAL creey “Uncle Johns” surreptitiously sneaking pictures of strangers kids and up-skirting women on their cell phones and that is fucking infuriating.

  15. Jared Ribic Avatar
    Jared Ribic

    It’s likely her kids have either cell phones or tablets with cameras in them.
    She should be more concerned about the NSA’s ability to turn those cameras on in the kids’ bedrooms.
    If you’re going to be paranoid of something, at least be paranoid of something that’s even more creepy.