The Duke and Duchess of Sussex are suing for invasion of privacy over photos of their young son that were taken while the family was in their Southern California home.
In a suit filed Thursday in Los Angeles Superior Court (read it here), Meghan Markle and England’s Prince Harry name a John Doe paparazzo, another “individual or business entity whose name is not currently known” they say is shopping the photos taken by the first defendant, along with multiple other John Does involving in taking and/or shopping the snaps.
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The couple, who “stepped back” as senior members of the British royal family in January, left the UK first for Canada and then a gated community in Los Angeles. Their suit says that photographers have used drones and helicopters to take shots of them and son Archie.
“Archie, the Plaintiffs and/or other individuals in the yard and garden, and elsewhere in the residence, have a reasonable expectation of privacy when they play and socialize in their home and private, fenced-in garden and yard,” the lawsuit states. “This residence, garden and yard are closed to the public, and no one can overhear individuals’ conversations or see individuals there without the aid of a visual or audio enhancing devices or by physical trespass onto the property.”
The couple’s lawyer echoed that sentiment.
“Every individual and family member in California is guaranteed by law the right to privacy in their home,” said Michael Kump of Kinsella Weitzman Iser Kump & Aldisert in Santa Monica. “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 suit acknowledges that the couple doesn’t know who took the photos or who is trying to sell them, hence the “John Doe” defendants.
“The Plaintiffs have done everything in their power to stay out of the limelight except in connection with their work, which they freely admit is newsworthy,” the lawsuit says. “But the photos at issue are not news. They are not in the public interest. They are harassment. The sole point to taking and/or selling such invasive photos is to profit from a child. Such sales, in turn, stoke the paparazzi market and lead to ever more harassment. The fact that the images at issue remain in the possession of an unknown adult, having already been shown and shared to hundreds if not thousands of potential buyers, is disgusting and wrong.”
Once the photographer and media outlet are ID’d, the suit says, the couple “will seek court orders (1) requiring the offending parties to turn over all photographs unlawfully taken of their son, and (2) enjoining those persons who took the photographs, and those who are shopping them, from further unlawful conduct and harassment of the Plaintiffs and their son, along with any and all other appropriate relief.”
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