Just over a week after we reported that Ft. Lauderdale police were creating their own laws to harass photographers outside a movie set, the issue has been picking up steam.
First, the National Press Photographers Association fired off a letter to the mayor and police chief demanding officers to stop harassing and threatening photographers.
And today, a local attorney, activist and publisher filed a lawsuit against the city, seeking an emergency injunction against their illegal actions.
And if the matter hasn’t been resolved by Friday, we will descend upon the area in mass armed with our cameras to photograph the hell out of those cops.
According to the SPJ press release:
If the city doesn’t rescind its policy, on FRIDAY, JUNE 17, noted South Florida photographer Carlos Miller will join SPJ for a “lunch-in.” Professional photographers and citizen supporters of the First Amendment will descend on Southwest Second Street at 1 p.m. to buy lunch – carrying and clicking their SLRs and smartphone cameras.
We can’t call it a protest because then we would need a permit as unconstitutional as that sounds (and yes, I’m aware I’m using the word in the headline).
So we are officially calling it a “lunch-in” because we plan to grab a bite to eat from one of the many restaurants in the area where photography has not been allowed since filming of the movie began this month.
The movie, Rock of Ages, stars Tom Cruise, Alec Baldwin and Catherine Zeta-Jones among other notable stars.
Filmmakers have rented a nightclub called Revolution Live and have received a city permit to shoot in the business district surrounding it.
However, under the city’s approval, filmmakers posted signs throughout the three-block radius stating that trespassing and photography is not allowed – even though the area continues to be open to the public.
Police and city officials told the Sun Sentinel that people are welcome to walk though the area to buy lunch, but they are not allowed to take pictures.
Even though the signs refer to an ordincance that have nothing to do with photography or trespassing, city officials told the Sun Sentinel that they are confident they are abiding by the law.
City officials on Wednesday said they could not identify which ordinance governs the situation. Little said an attorney who is “an expert in film permitting” could not be reached.
Obviously they need to learn a lesson in basic Constitutional law.
So if you live in South Florida, come join us on Friday. SPJ might even spring for a slice of pizza.
And you never know, you just might end up with a photo of Tom Cruise.
But I would rather photograph Catherine Zeta-Jones.