When someone makes you feel uncomfortable about your kids’ safety, what do you do? Hilary Duff has had to deal with this question often in the face of aggressive paparazzi. Over the weekend, when a photographer decided to document her 7-year-old son Luca’s football game, she used her preferred form of defense: social media and a super polite confrontation.
“Can you stop taking pictures of the kids, please?” Duff asks an unnamed man with a camera in the video taken on Saturday morning.
“It’s legal,” is the man’s response. To be clear, if this video was taken in California, it’s legal only up to a point. A law passed in 2013 says that anyone who “seriously alarms, annoys, torments, or terrorizes” the children or wards of celebrities for their employment can be imprisoned, fined up to $10,000 or both. But the man claims that he is “practicing photography,” so there’s a chance he might not even be doing this in a professional capacity.
“It’s making me feel really uncomfortable,” she continues. When he offers to show her I.D., she tells him that’s not the point. “I’m asking you to stop taking pictures of our 7-year-old children, if you don’t know anyone that’s here. I’m asking you, human-to-human, as a mother, if you don’t know anyone, can you please stop taking pictures of our children playing football this morning?”
The man stands his ground, though, so she can only say that she’s posting this video to her Instagram account, where her caption truly revealed her feelings.
“This is stalking minors! Disgusting!” she wrote.
Many of the comments to the video are supportive of her assertion that laws should protect children from paparazzi (more than they currently do) — with fellow celeb moms like Busy Philipps and Nikki Reed chiming in. Some are unhappy about the optics of a powerful white woman confronting a Black man. Then there are a few viewers who returned to a common argument: She’s a public figure by choice, so photographers and reporters have a right to cover her.
Maybe so, but is it fair to bother her son and his peers for that?
This must certainly compound Duff’s feelings of working-mom guilt which she confessed to having at #BlogHer20 Health in L.A. earlier this month. There she discussed why it is important for her to maintain her career while raising Luca and 1-year-old daughter Banks, even when it means flying back and forth between New York, where she shoots Younger, and Los Angeles, where Luca is in school.
“I have so much guilt,” Duff said. “Having many different hats with my career is just a challenge, but I’m so in love with what I do. Acting has been my passion since I was little and that’s something that has to be a part of my life for me to feel self-fulfilled, to have that outlet and have that independence away from my kids, and have that identity. But it’s really hard, and I have to surrender often.”
But we’d argue the last thing she needs compounding her mom guilt is random people making her kid uncomfortable by photographing him without permission.