Meghan Markle and Prince Harry are suing to end the paparazzi practice of assailing their Hollywood Hills home with drone- and helicopter-mounted cameras to snap photos of baby Archie.
According to a “John Doe” suit filed Thursday in Los Angeles Superior Court, even after moving from a small town in Canada to a gated community in L.A., the former senior royals are still being besieged by photographers, some of whom have gone airborne to attempt to take photos of the baby.
“This action arises out of the relentless and quite frankly shocking efforts of the tabloid media to profit from the serial intrusions on the privacy of a 14-month-old child in his own home,” the suit reads, “and the desire and responsibility of any parent to do what is necessary to protect their children from this manufactured feeding frenzy.”
The suit also claims that the U.K. tabloid Daily Mail published the couple’s address after they left England for a Canada, and then published their location again when they escaped to L.A., where photographers started employing drones and helicopters in their pursuit.
“Some paparazzi and media outlets have flown drones a mere 20 feet above the house, as often as three times a day, to obtain photographs of the couple and their young son in their private residence,” lawyer Michael Kump writes in the complaint. “Others have flown helicopters above the backyard of the residence, as early as 5:30 a.m. and as late as 7:00 p.m., waking neighbors and their son, day after day. And still others have even cut holes in the security fence itself to peer through it.”
The last straw for the duke and duchess of Sussex was when they discovered that photos of Archie, supposedly taken publicly in Malibu, were up for sale. Meghan and Harry say the boy has never appeared in public and has never been to Malibu. Kemp claims the photos were mislabeled because it’s illegal to sell unsolicited pictures taken of children in their own homes.
Since the couple doesn’t know who took the pictures, or who is trying to sell them they have filed against a “John Doe” defendant. They hope the suit will out the guilty parties, from whom they’re seeking compensatory and punitive damages, as well as let potential buyers know that the photos were taken illegally.
“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,” Kump writes. “But the photos at issue are not news. They are not public interest. They are harassment. The sole point to taking and/or selling such invasive photos is to profit from a child.”