Harry and Meghan sue LA paparazzi for photographing Archie at home, lawsuit details life besieged by drones

Harry and Meghan sue LA paparazzi for photographing Archie at home, lawsuit details life besieged by drones
Prince Harry and Meghan (Getty Images)

Prince Harry and Meghan, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex are suing unnamed Los Angeles paparazzi over harassment. According to the L.A. Times, the couple that now lives in Beverly Hills in Los Angeles County filed a complaint on Thursday, July 23, in the L.A. County Superior Court alleging that unnamed individuals photographed their 14-month-old son, Archie, in their backyard. 

According to TMZ, the Sussexes said that they took extensive measures to ensure their privacy at their new home, which included putting a large mesh fence around the property to guard against telephoto lenses. Yet, an unnamed photographer, per the complaint, “crossed a red line for any parent” by photographing their son. 

Per TMZ, the royal couple claimed that the photos were being shopped as if they were shot during a public outing in Malibu. They, however, stated that their son has not been anywhere in public since they moved to Los Angeles. They claimed that the photographer was purposely lying about the location because they know that “unsolicited photographs of a young child in the privacy of his own home are very much unlawful.”

According to the L.A. Times, the invasion of privacy lawsuit cites California’s so-called “paparazzi” law, which made photographing or filming anyone in their homes by use of drone or telephoto lens illegal. The report added that because the couple is unaware of who took the shots, the suit targets unnamed defendants as a way to allow them to pursue, through subpoenas, anyone peddling the photos. The royal couple reportedly does not know if anyone has purchased the shots yet.

“Every individual and family member in California is guaranteed by law the right to privacy in their home,” said Michael J. Kump, the Sussexes’ attorney. “No drones, helicopters, or telephoto lenses can take away that right. The Duke and Duchess of Sussex are filing this lawsuit to protect their young son’s right to privacy in their home without intrusion by photographers, and to uncover and stop those who seek to profit from these illegal actions.”

The royal couple also said in their complaint they are not looking for any special treatment, and expect they will be trailed by the media when out in public. They, however, draw the line at the privacy of their home. In the lawsuit, they said that “Some media outlets have flown drones a mere 20 feet above the house as often as three times a day,” while adding that helicopters do fly-overs, and some photographers have even cut holes in their security fences.

Sources connected to the Sussexes told TMZ that the intrusion went down at Tyler Perry’s Beverly Hills estate, where they are now staying. The house is reportedly situated in a gated community. 

This is not the Sussexes’ first battle with the press. Last year, the Daily Mail got its hands on the letter that Meghan had allegedly sent to her estranged father Thomas Markle, and published it. Not just that, the Daily Mail also enlisted a supposed handwriting expert who claimed that her letter suggested she was “ultra-cautious”, a “showman and a narcissist”, “materially motivated”, and “a consummate performer and strategist”.

In October 2019, the Sussexes sued the tabloid. In a statement, Harry wrote: “Unfortunately, my wife has become one of the latest victims of a British tabloid press that wages campaigns against individuals with no thought to the consequences -- a ruthless campaign that has escalated over the past year, throughout her pregnancy and while raising our newborn son.”

“There is a human cost to this relentless propaganda, specifically when it is knowingly false and malicious, and though we have continued to put on a brave face -- as so many of you can relate to -- I cannot begin to describe how painful it has been. Because in today’s digital age, press fabrications are repurposed as truth across the globe. One day’s coverage is no longer tomorrow’s chip paper,” he further said. 

Around the same time, Harry filed a separate lawsuit against New Group Newspapers -- publishers of The Sun, the Daily Mirror, and the defunct News of the World -- for allegedly hacking their phones.

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