Pop Rocks: Is It OK To Punch the Paparazzi? How About if You're Alec Baldwin?

I love Alec Baldwin as an actor and I may even think he's a good person; it's hard to say given the amount of bad publicity the guy has brought upon himself in the past few years. Like two days ago, for example, Baldwin was caught grabbing a paparazzi photographer after the guy followed his wife, Hilaria, and their new born baby into a shop to snap a pic.

Baldwin was none to pleased and grabbed the guy and threw him against a car, the Huffington Post reports. This is far from the first time Baldwin has had altercations with the press. Last year he got into it with a photographer from the New York Daily News and may or may not have punched the guy; Baldwin claims that he did not.

Baldwin is certainly not the only celebrity to have beef with the paparazzi. In fact, punching camera-wielding peeps has become something of a Hollywood pastime. This month, Kanye West was accused of grabbing a camera off of a "pap" and may now allegedly face felony charges for the damage done to the equipment. Justin Bieber has gotten into multiple physical altercations with photographers. Then there is Sean Penn who could write an entire book on the subject of punching paparazzi; even little precious sweeter than gummy bears singer Bjork has gotten into fisticuffs with someone trying to take her picture.

My initial reaction to Baldwin's latest incident was a complete understanding. I certainly wouldn't want my new baby in the folds of Star magazine without my permission, but I am not Alec Baldwin. It is very difficult for us "regular folks" to comprehend what it means to be a paparazzi target and, thus, the lines of right and wrong are sort of blurry. What is stepping over the line and what is not? It's tough to say.

Way, way back in the '90s, Playgirl magazine somehow or other caught a buck naked Brad Pitt and his then girlfriend Gwyneth Paltrow sunbathing on the deck of their vacation home. They printed the photos in a spread. Immediately, Pitt sued and the magazines were taken off the shelf. I happened to be working at a bookstore at the time and snatched two copies (I have one still if you want it). At the time, it didn't occur to me what a violation of privacy this was. Can you imagine? But this naked Pitt event is not an isolated one; celebrities are constantly vacationing in their birthday suits and then getting furious when the paparazzi catch it on film. First time shame on me, but then, come on... put some clothes on.

Walking around your home city with your newborn baby as a famous person who does not want that baby in print is different. But is it OK to throw down over it?

We live in a celebrity-crazed society that demands images of our fav stars but then we feel bad for them that they are subjected to a life without any seclusion. But aren't the paparazzi just doing their jobs? And, furthermore, no one asked you to be a big shot movie star; that was all your idea. And the life that you have attained, and its subsequent wealth, is probably pretty awesome. Would you, Alec Baldwin, trade that in for some solitude? Many have done it and have been left alone.

I waver back and forth between thinking it's "just the way of the world" and "even if that's true, it's a weird way of the world." But in the end, we keep buying it, so why would anyone stop snapping pictures of it? I guess in light of the Miley Cyrus' spectacle, which I will not comment on because I have already gotten yelled at enough about it, the issue I see it that if we are not part of the solution, we're a part of the problem. I know I am.

Just think, TMZ has now been on TV since 2007; that's as lone as The Big Bang Theory. Somebody's watching it. But I bet lots of their photographers have had to take one for the team.

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