Prince Harry & Meghan are suing ‘John Doe’ paparazzi for invasive drone photos

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle pay a visit to Johannesburg

I’ve been aware, secondhand, that there are weird, invasive drone photos of Prince Harry, the Duchess of Sussex and little Archie in LA, but I haven’t seen or looked for those photos. Again, the Sussexes are staying at Tyler Perry’s mansion, which has all of the LA-mansion vibes you would expect, including a big backyard and a pool and whatever else. It’s very clearly private property, and in some kind of gated community (which is why paparazzi can’t stake out the mansion and sit outside of the property in their cars). So the paps have got drones flying overhead and sometimes the drones get photos of Harry, Archie and Meghan, and then those photos get sold to British or European magazines and papers. And now the Sussexes are suing:

They stepped away from their royal duties and left Britain. But Prince Harry and his wife, Meghan, contend in an invasion of privacy lawsuit filed on Thursday in California that they haven’t been able to escape the paparazzi, who the couple accuse of using drones and telephoto lenses to take unauthorized photos of their son, Archie. The photos show the Duke and Duchess of Sussex with their 14-month-old son in the backyard of a secluded estate in the Los Angeles area where the family has been staying since earlier this year, the lawsuit said.

The defendants were not named in the lawsuit because the couple do not know who took the photos, according to the complaint, which listed the defendants as John Does. The couple’s lawyer is seeking to subpoena people who may have knowledge about the intrusions. Prince Harry and Meghan are suing under a so-called paparazzi law in California, under which a person can be held liable civilly for airspace intrusions to take photographs of a person on private property. The lawsuit is the latest clash between the British royal family and the media over privacy issues.

“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 said. “But the photos at issue are not news. They are not in the public interest. They are harassment.”

The couple have retained the lawyer Michael J. Kump, whose other clients have included Kim Kardashian West.

“Every individual and family member in California is guaranteed by law the right to privacy in their home,” Mr. Kump said in a statement on Thursday. “No drones, helicopters or telephoto lenses can take away that right.”

Prince Harry and Meghan discovered that someone was shopping photos of their son and had claimed they had been taken on a recent public outing in Malibu, according to the lawsuit, which said that Archie had not been out in public since the family arrived in Southern California.

“It is one thing for parents to share photos of their children, on occasion, with supporters — particularly when doing so has the salutary effect of reducing the bounty on their children’s heads,” the lawsuit said. “It is something else entirely to cede all control to photographers driven by commercial incentive alone. Simply put, it is the plaintiffs’ choice when and how to share photos of their son.”

[From The NY Times]

The Times also notes that the Sussexes complained about the Daily Mail “publicized the location of the Los Angeles-area estate where they were staying.” Which is true, the DM has made that into Harry and Meghan’s formal title now: The Duke of Sussex Who Is Living In Tyler Perry’s LA Mansion. The Sussexes also installed “a large mesh fence to prevent the paparazzi from photographing them at the estate from a ridgeline,” but the paparazzi “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… 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.”

It’s illegal for Harry and Meg to shoot down drones in their “airspace,” although that would be an interesting experiment, especially when drones are a mere 20 feet away. Anyway, my feeling this whole time is that as soon as the British papers knew that the Sussexes had moved to LA, they sent paparazzi and tabloid reporters to the city to basically stalk Harry and Meghan 24-7. Just further evidence that the Sussexes do, in fact, need their security.

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex Prince Harry and Meghan seen arriving at a Nyanga township

Photos courtesy of Backgrid, Avalon Red.

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123 Responses to “Prince Harry & Meghan are suing ‘John Doe’ paparazzi for invasive drone photos”

  1. Paula says:

    I saw a picture of Doria and Archie on Instagram (which was printed in a German magazine) and wondered about this. God, I can’t imagine being hunted like this and good for them for suing

    • minx says:

      I would simply hate thinking that drones are taking pictures of me when I want my privacy.
      Drone photography can be incredible, I’ve watched a lot of travel programs that use it.But they are so intrusive for human beings.

      • kimberlu says:

        just stayed at a hotel and watched a grown man use his drone to check every open patio area…stared at him and….continued to stare at him until he felt my eyes burning on him and when he looked around he found my waiting evil eye stare..

  2. S808 says:

    Yeah, this isn’t about pictures cause American outlets aren’t using them, British outlets aren’t publishing them either (though I think they’re using them for talking point and it’s how they knew Doria is staying with them). It’s about harassment. They’re trying to make life miserable for them both in an effort to drive, at least Harry, back to England. This isn’t the first time they sued over drone pictures either (they were forced out of their first home in England because of drone pics).

    The John Doe aspect is interesting too. I think they can go after anyone who published the photos.

    • BayTampaBay says:

      Are you referring to the country house they rented?

      • S808 says:

        Yes.

      • BayTampaBay says:

        @S808 – Did not the owner of the house or the decorator of the owner sell pictures of the interior of the house to the Daily Fail or am I getting this story mixed up with another story?

        Also, does anyone know why there is such a negative view of someplace in the Cotswold called Soho Farmhouse? It is my understanding this place is basically just a English version of a Yank County Club.

      • S808 says:

        To my understanding, it was Splash News who took the drone shots. Harry sued them and won damages.

      • Becks1 says:

        @Bay – I think that did happen, but it was different from the drone shots. The drone shots apparently were such that someone could figure out where they were living from the pictures, which is why they had to move. I sometimes wonder if they had been able to stay in the Cotswolds and slightly removed from the royal cesspool if things would have been different for them. But probably not.

      • BayTampaBay says:

        @Becks1 – I believe and will always believe that Harry had been considering leaving the BRF since way before he met Meghan. What I want to know is what was the final straw that broke the camels back causing Harry to finally decide “I am out of here and taking my family with me”.

      • Becks1 says:

        @bay my theory is that it was finding out that William was behind the smear campaign. I think that makes sense as the final straw (Harry realizing the family wont help him because the family, i.e. William, is behind it). I really think that William’s budget flight stunt might have been the final nail in the coffin of their relationship.

        Harry has said for years that his grandmother was the reason he stayed, so I do think he was somewhat “primed” to leave, but I think if the family and press had treated Meghan differently, they might have stayed.

      • BayTampaBay says:

        @Becks1 – I also read somewhere, that probably was not very reputable or reliable, that Harry and Meghan were flat out told that they would not be allowed to do the type of “work” Meghan wanted to do. They were told their work would basically be “bread & butter” engagements with a few overseas Commonwealth tours sprinkled in. This may be total BS and they were not told any such thing but I distinctly remember reading this somewhere,

      • Yvette says:

        @BayTampaBay .. “What I want to know is what was the final straw that broke the camels back causing Harry to finally decide “I am out of here and taking my family with me”.

        I believe the final straw was Harry realizing the depth of William’s petty animosity toward Meghan. I don’t know if it’s because she made Kate cry or because she didn’t accept her ‘place’ beneath the Cambridge household staff (or, perhaps, because Harry and Meghan’s popularity didn’t keep them in their place beneath the Cambridges) or because she removed Harry from his former ‘Kate and William’s dependable lacky and third wheel’ status, but I think the hatred is alive and well.

      • MerryGirl says:

        @Yvette, Meghan did not make Kate cry….Kate Karen-ed her because she couldn’t get her way dictating another woman’s wedding and she and her husband were def jealous of her popularity and not having the ‘old days’ with Harry as their third wheel in an unhealthy threesome.

      • Yvette says:

        @MerryGirl … I just listed the accusations leveled against Meghan in the Tabloids by ‘palace’ sources..

      • Sid says:

        I would imagine that another big straw was thinking how Archie would be treated in the future. I can very much imagine a scenario where the press would use Archie as a scapegoat while giving the Cambridge kids glowing write-ups. And with Archie having recent Black ancestry, I can very much imagine what kind of trash the British press would concoct. It’s one thing to accept that sort of treatment for yourself. It’s a whole other thing to realize that is the future your baby is facing.

    • Hope says:

      What happened with their country house was incredibly sketchy. The Royal Rota was part of that which lead me to believe the BRF supported the harassment. After that the Sussexes were given Frogmore, formerly used for servants.

    • anotherlily says:

      If they can go after anyone who publishes the photos they can go after ‘Jersey Deanne’ who is one of the trolls outed by the dailymail. Her real life identity is now well known. She lives in Florida and has been making money by running a hate site against Meghan.

  3. Nanea says:

    The agency that took the photos is credited as X17 on a Swiss site that got the photos of Archie and Doria from a German mag. The Swiss site has since taken down the photo/post. This German mag – Bunte – even had a small pic of D&A on their cover on last week’s edition.

    Those scanned page are the ones that are all over Insta, Tumblr, Pinterest.

    And today that mag Bunte had the gall to report on their site that M&H are suing.

    May M&H sue them and X17 out of existence!

    • SomeChick says:

      Bünte is pretty trashy. It’s like the Enquirer or DF, aber aus Deutschland.

    • Olenna says:

      I had a good laugh at one of the chicken sht mug*it ringleaders on Twitter who temporarily inactivated her account in order to clean up it after this lawsuit hit the news. She tweeted the Doria and Archie drone pic taken at TP’s mansion and made sure to delete it.

  4. Brit says:

    This just reeks of desperation from the media and BRF at this point and it’s getting increasingly unhinged. It’s seems the longer the Sussexes stay away, work and thrive because they are despite what anyone says, it’s making them more and more desperate. We have reporters unraveling with bitterness and rage towards them. You got fashion editors practically begging Meghan to continue dressing like a royal so they can make money. They make accusations against them like the republic did and Harry nips it in the bud and they complain that the no comment is the way to go. You have some reporters and historians arguing on podcasts and videos over them. I mean, they are losing it and that’s not even counting in the Covid mess, lack of international gigs especially since the tabloids have been shut out. The finding freedom book is being serialised in American media mostly and only a few in Britain are receiving it, so they’re salty about that. When I say both the BM/BRF screwed up is not an understatement. If anything, it’s becoming a little scary because these institutions are control freaks.

    • BayTampaBay says:

      You have trolls posting on the DM that Harry & Meghan are neglectful parents allowing Archie to be photographed in a “soiled nappy” and that QEII should step in and use her custodial rights to remove Archie from the abusive Sussex’s home and the parental abusive situation he is living in.

      I am not making this up. I actually read three different variations of this comment on a DM article that generated 4K+ comments in less than three hours. The commentariat actually believes this story about a “soiled nappy” and that Archie is in danger of abuse from his parents. The number of up-arrows to the above comment was mind boggling.

      • Ginger says:

        I saw an article from a former DM employee that said 70% of the comments are not real and are bots and most are paid DM employees. The article said this former employee had a lot of interesting stuff to say but he couldn’t print it cause he could be sued.

      • BayTampaBay says:

        @Ginger – Thanks for the tidbit. It it good to know that the crazy sector of society that comments in the Daily fail is not real.

  5. Jessi says:

    I saw the photo of Doria and Archie (didn’t realize how horribly invasive the process was, and I will not be looking for others) and while this is terribly superficial, I feel it needs to be said that Doria looks incredible and is yet another reason I need to take up yoga.

  6. KellyRyan says:

    Drones are illegal in CA due to FAA regulations, civil not criminal. H&M have an attorney and I do wonder if there are additional laws on privacy which might apply. I’m thinking specifically of harassment and stalking. I can anger easily on this topic because I’ve been a victim. I also cool quickly. :) As to H&M, I hope at some point they are just left the F alone by the BRF family and press.

    • Brit says:

      Unfortunately, I don’t think they will leave them alone. When you free yourself of control and stop letting abusers abuse you and set boundaries, it will get worse before it gets better. Because these people have been so used to control that in that the anger, rage and desperation kicks in. Harry and Meghan are extremely brave because the BM and RF want and need them to fail and nothing has worked to stop them. They’ll keep trying and various ways to wear them down and discourage them. They just have to keep the course and keep working playing those games aren’t worth it.

      • BayTampaBay says:

        The British Tabloid Media will never leave the Sussexes in peace as the Sussexes are their only Royal Ca$h Cow$. No matter how much the British Tabloid Media tries to promote other Royals, their readers and subscribers are only interested in “hating on” Meghan & Harry. It use to be just Meghan but IMHO there is now just as much “full-on hate” for Harry.

    • Nic919 says:

      They never left Diana alone so I highly doubt they will leave these two alone for many years.

      • MerryGirl says:

        They’ll never leave them alone but at least they can and will set boundaries and if those lines are crossed, they will be sued.

      • Still_Sarah says:

        @ MerryGirl : But the problem with suing is it just gives the tabloids more ammunition (updates on the lawsuit as per the DM) and their legal costs are treated as a business expense that reduces their actual income. There’s no motivation for the paps and the tabloids to back off even if they are sued. I really don’t know what H&M can do about it.

      • HeyJude says:

        @Still_Sarah if they’re being incessantly, invasively stalked LA county is the most unique place in the county as it has a special threat management unit and laws to prosecute people who do such things to celebrities that endanger them there (it founded precisely to protect celebrities from harassment after the Rebecca Shafer murder). Add in LA’s special anti-paparazzi laws and criminal prosecutions are a real threat if they continue to stalk Meghan and Harry.

        It’s no accident they settled in LA.

    • morrigan01 says:

      Actually it is criminal because there is a specific law here in CA that makes it illegal for paps to fly drones over private residences to take pictures of people on private property. It was signed into law by the Governor, meaning it’s a state wide law, back in 2015.

  7. Edna says:

    This media craziness around the Sussexes is getting worse and seems so unhinged. And the Royal Rita and BM have the gall to say the Sussexes should have stayed in Britain because the paparazzi wouldn’t stalk them like this, but in Hollywood there is no protection against the paparazzi. And that’s another reason why “Harry” should return home. The gaslighting is ridiculous. Why can’t they just leave them in peace. The Sussexes have no issue with photos taken of them while they’re working but rightfully object to invasions of their private family time…especially photos of private citizen Archie Harrison Mount-Batten Windsor.

    • P89LT says:

      This may sound stupid, but I’m curious. Is it autocorrect with Royal Rita or is it an insult like “Karen.” Sometimes I swear I miss these things, and I feel so out of it. I saw bespoke catering before on a story, and I’m still going wtf is that or is it just a clever insult. Sorry if it was a clever insult I apologize for the need to explain, but this time I just had to ask.

      • Edna says:

        Lol…it was autocorrect and I didn’t catch the error before I posted.

      • BeanieBean says:

        P89LT: yeah, that ‘bespoke catering’ for Bea’s wedding made no sense to me, either. Isn’t it always going to be ‘bespoke’?

  8. Mumbles says:

    I get what they’re doing here, which is putting anyone who buys or publishes photos like this on notice that they’re going to be legally liable for doing so. I’m curious about the legal procedure of suing a John Doe, whose identity they presumably don’t know. What will eventually happen is the case will go away because nobody is going to out themselves as the culprit, unless the Sussexes have a window to identify the actual defendant. But it accomplishes their goal to protect their family, and there is seemingly no way to do otherwise.

    • bluemoonhorse says:

      No. Go read the article. Leaving it “John Doe” is simply a legal tactic since they don’t know the name of the person(s) who did it (yet). See above – photos were already printed so now they can go after the publication to reveal the photographer. Rinse and repeat. I doubt very much this is “going away.”

      • Mumbles says:

        My comment is consistent with the article. I know enough law to know that unless a defendant actually gets served the complaint, the case can’t go any farther. You can’t take the deposition of someone you don’t know. They can sue the publication but that’s a different lawsuit.

      • LaraW" says:

        @Mumbles
        They are suing both. They do not need separate lawsuits.

        Text of complaint: https://www.documentcloud.org/documents/7001465-470199941-Prince-Harry-v-John-Doe.html

        Text of law they are suing under: https://leginfo.legislature.ca.gov/faces/codes_displaySection.xhtml?sectionNum=1708.8.&lawCode=CIV

        I would not be surprised, given the reputation and experience of law firm they’ve hired, that they already have a list of defendants in mind and are simply asking for the court to grant the requests outlined in the complaint.

        H&M are also seeking injunctive relief – if granted, it brings in law enforcement. Violation of an injunction is a crime punishable by jailtime and a fine. This may be difficult to enforce against drones, but I imagine the LAPD is familiar with these requests and have procedures in place to deal with paparazzi.

      • Still_Sarah says:

        @ bluemoonhorse : I was thinking that too. How are they going to serve a John Doe with an unknown identity? However filing the claim may allow to take other steps but I don’t know which ones. I was a lawyer for many years and there are ways to substitutionally serve someone (put a notice in the newspaper, etc.). But I am not up on privacy law or media law.

      • LaraW" says:

        @Still_Sarah

        California Rules of Civil Procedure allow plaintiffs 60 days to file proof of service with the court. Presumably the firm has confidence that they will be able to identify and serve at least one plaintiff within those 60 days. Once they identify other defendants, they are allowed to amend the complaint and proof of service to the new defendant must be shown to the court within 30 days of filing the new, amended complaint.

    • notasugarhere says:

      It was criminal activity. The publications that purchased and posted the illegally-taken photos don’t get to protect their ‘source’ in this case.

      • Mumbles says:

        Sounds like the only entities that published them are foreign and thus not within the reach of US criminal authorities. Some German website gets a call from the LAPD can tell them to pound sand.

      • LaraW" says:

        If it is true that the German publication Bunte was the first to publish the photos, they are not necessarily immune from US civil lawsuits. They are a media brand of Hubert Burda Media Group, a German company which conducts business in the United States, has a registered office in New York City, and are incorporated in the state of New York. The company has, however, surrendered their right to do business in California – I am not familiar enough with this area of law to know whether this releases them from liability for purchasing photos taken in the state of California and profiting from the publication of those photos. It is also not completely clear to me whether the publication Bunte is a subsidiary, which is another complication. Courts have held that parent companies cannot be held liable for the actions of their subsidiaries.

        Regardless, Bunte is not some obscure German website. According to Wikipedia, “Bunte has one of the highest circulations of all German publications and is one of the most popular media brands” for Hubert Burda Media.

      • Nic919 says:

        Someone committed a criminal act using that drone in California and that person or the company responsible for purchasing and publishing that photo will be held liable. It doesn’t matter where they live. That’s like saying Andrew can hide from sex trafficking charges because he lives in the UK.

      • LaraW" says:

        @Nic919
        But it’s not a criminal act under California law. Thus their request for an injunction. Use of drones in CA is considered criminal conduct only under specific circumstances outlined in Penal Code Section 632 – Eavesdropping (this does not extend to photographs); Section 634 – Trespass (Invasion of Privacy), but this contingent on Section 632, which again, does not cover photographs; Section 647 – Disorderly Conduct (Concealed Recording), but from what I’ve read, this would be a stretch to argue in H&M’s case; and Section 646.9 – (Stalking), but this still comes with the burden of proving that the drone operator is “a credible threat with the intent to place that person in reasonable fear for his/her safety.”

      • Nic919 says:

        They can’t charge someone until they have an identity. Because a child is involved the prosecutor may want to make examples of them. I wouldn’t rule that out. Reasonable prospect of conviction is a pretty low bar to meet to simply lay a charge.

        In any case it’s not like people can hide from lawsuits if they live in different countries, unless they reside in non extradition treaty countries or countries that simply ignore private international law. Or if they are the son of a monarch who is providing cover for them.

      • LaraW" says:

        If you’re referring to California Penal Code § 11414 (the law Halle Berry and Jennifer Garner lobbied for in 2013), that law has never been tested. It’s not even clear that drones would meet the standard for “knowing and willful conduct directed at a specific child or ward that seriously alarms, annoys, torments, or terrorizes the child or ward.” The bill was signed into law before drones became widely available, and the intent of the bill was directed towards physical persons stalking and harassing the children of celebrities to obtain a photo. Also, any attempt at prosecution would immediately bring up first amendment issues and the law would almost certainly be struck down.

        With respect to service of the lawsuit – while it’s true that anyone can be served a complaint, jurisdiction is important here. H&M are filing suit under state law, which is why the fact that Hubert Burda Media surrendered their right to conduct business in California is relevant. There is a limit as to what California state court can hear since the company has minimal contact with the state.

      • notasugarhere says:

        See California law AB 856 from October 2015, against paparazzi using drones to fly over private property to take photos and profit off invading privacy.

      • LaraW” says:

        Yes, that is an amendment to the law codified in California Civil Code Section 1708.8, which is the law under which H&M are filing their lawsuit. Section 1708.8 allows them to seek monetary restitution and disgorgement of any profit made by the defendant. It does not, however, send the guilty party to jail; 1708.8 is not part of California’s Penal Code.

        There is no dispute that the actions of the paparazzi are illegal. They are not, however, criminal. If H&M were to succeed in obtaining a restraining order and the paparazzi violates that restraining order, that is a crime punishable by jail time.

    • Abby says:

      They will find out who the John Does are because they are also suing the also suing the magazines that published and they will be forced during the discovery period to release the names of the photographers who sold the images.

    • Lizzie says:

      They can sue anyone who Published/profited from illegal child pics. That will probably lead to the pap. If money can’t be made then most paparazzi won’t bother.

    • Nic919 says:

      They named the John Doe as a placeholder because they know there is a photographer (actually several) but they don’t know his name. They did name the DM and other entities and they will get the name of who provided them the photos on deposition. This way they don’t need to add a party but simply substitute the John Doe with the identified photographer. This avoids the potential limitations issue of adding a party later on as substituting a John Doe for a more precise name is not considered adding a party.

      The action can go ahead even if not all parties are served. This is basic in all common law jurisdictions.

  9. Bavarian says:

    it was in the Bunte and no one really paid attention at all.

    • bluemoonhorse says:

      It’s about a line in the sand. Doesn’t matter if no one looked or cared. By law, it was illegal to take the photo.

    • BabsORIG says:

      If no one paid attention at all, why are there numerous screenshots and copies of the photo on all SM platforms? Why are many papers talking a bout Archie and Doria? Are you alright?

  10. Aa says:

    This is Harry and Meghan setting boundaries. There are basically two ways to go. You either get in bed with the media or develop a reputation as being so litigious that the people counting the coins decide it’s not worth the risk.

  11. Jane Doe says:

    I say good for them. No one has to live like that. They have a right to privacy with their child. I do believe the paparazzi are dangerous to the Sussexes in the same way they were to Diana.

  12. Sofia says:

    Good! And before anyone starts saying “Well they moved to LA what did they expect?” Well 1) lots of other celebrities live in LA too and they barely have any problems with drones. Yet the Sussexes are being harassed. 2) they aren’t suing for pictures of them taken on the street, they’re suing for pictures taken on private property. There’s a difference.

    Sorry if this got ranty

    • Becks1 says:

      Both good points, especially your second one. They’re not suing over the security cam pictures of them delivering food. They’re suing over the drone pictures and the illegal tactics on the part of the paparazzi.

      I do think Meghan (or Archie) sued for the pictures of her and Archie walking in Canada, but maybe Canadian laws are different?

      • Prayer Warrior says:

        They were in a public park in Canada when those pics of her walking the dogs with Archie in a bunting bag on her chest; they were taken from far away with a telephoto lens. Tho definitely an invasion of privacy, not an illegal invasion, just simply invasive, legally.

      • Mumbles says:

        Someone posted a link to the complaint above (thanks!) and they say in the complaint that they lived in Canada “unmolested.”

      • Nic919 says:

        I think the reference to BC is more of setting the stage of how they had privacy until their location was revealed by the tabloids. I have not read the entire claim, but the focus seems to be on the drones in LA and publishing pictures of Archie in the backyard.

      • Becks1 says:

        @Mumbles – they said they lived in Canada unmolested UNTIL a tabloid published their location (I think it was the DM) and then paparazzi descended. I think it was also the DM that first published that they were living in Tyler Perry’s mansion, but I could be wrong on both counts.

        @Nic – this specific claim is about the drons in LA and the pictures of Archie in the backyard. But there is another lawsuit (I think Archie is the plaintiff) about something from their time in BC – I think it was the pictures of them walking on the trail but could be wrong.

  13. Lisa says:

    Yeah I don’t blame them at all for suing and it is not only them because they are disturbing Harry and Meghan’s neighbors with their intrusive behavior. The line is very clear that drone pictures are illegal.

    • molly says:

      Drone photos are creepy as hell. Twenty feet is basically a two story house. I can’t imagine that hovering above me in my back yard.

    • Lady D says:

      Can’t you spray drones with a supersoaker? Kind of accidentally on purpose nail one of them by innocently playing with water toys in your back yard.

      • Jane's Wasted Talent says:

        Yes! Or- a paintball gun isn’t a ‘real’ gun and could disable a drone quite nicely, I’d think.

  14. KellyRyan says:

    Keep in mind CA has a good amount of gated safety and security. San Diego area, Rancho Santa Fe, Santa Barbara, Montecito, etc. From what I’m reading this was not LA Paparazzi, but European. Those responsible can be tracked through IP addresses, and make no mistake they will be held financially accountable.

  15. Becks1 says:

    Good for them. It sounds like this isn’t even about the Doria/Archie pictures, but other pictures that haven’t found an outlet yet.

    I know some people say that they would have been better protected in the UK, but the British press is the one repeatedly releasing their location (first in Canada and now in LA.)

    This is harassment plain and simple, and its illegal. I mean, good lord, cutting holes in the fence???

  16. Sarah says:

    This is essentially the same principle as William suing the French magazine over the zoom lens shots of Kate topless.

    • The Hench says:

      As I recall those photos were taken from a public road with a long lens. Still an invasion of privacy but not quite as egregious. There was actually quite a lot of talk on here, whenever that example is raised, that Kate “must have known” she could be seen and/or photographed with the implication that it was another example of her exhibitionism.

      Whilst I am no fan of Kate, that seems pretty harsh. Don’t know whether the lawsuit was successful or not.

      • Julaine says:

        Yes, William and Catherine won that lawsuit. The photos were removed from the sites that published them (by then of course they had be screenshot and spread worldwide), and the damages awarded (100,00€ by the magazine The Closer and an additional 90,000€ by 2 individual staffers involved) were donated to charity. France has fairly strict laws about privacy and says that everyone, no matter how famous, deserves that human right. William and Kate were on private property and the closest public property from which the photos were taken was more than half a mile away.

      • notasugarhere says:

        She refers to herself as Kate, he calls her Kate. Only her stans insist upon calling her by the longer name.

  17. A Guest says:

    There has also been some speculation on Twitter that suing “John Doe” is a way to go after some of the “Megxit” crew on SM. They can force these sites to take the pictures down and also find out who is behind the screen names. It’s fairly obvious that many are RRs and courtiers spreading rumors and hate. If they are successful in “outing” some of these folks, then all hell will break loose.

    • The Hench says:

      Sorry, duplicate comment. You’d think I’d know how to work this by now…

    • L4frimaire says:

      I saw this on Twitter and some if the Meg*it hater sites took down their sites and started up under new Twitter handles, as well as removing those papped photos. They really are disgusting and use such racist, hateful language toward Meghan and her mom. Really disgusting and scary. It’s definitely put some if them on notice and bet some of the most egregious ones that profit off Meghan will be getting legal letters in the future. I really don’t understand what the ultimate goal of all this is. Have Harry leave Meghan and Archie and go back to UK to do photo ops for Heads Together with Will& Kate, while finding another woman to drive away from him? They will never leave her alone after this and they both know that. They just want some calm and normalcy in their family and work life, but that is too much for these trolls to tolerate. At this point, it’s like the Royal family and tabloids want to hold them hostage or want serious harm to befall them. They are already trying to erase her, never mentioning her name with Harry’s. It’s both disrespectful & frightening. How can they live with such racist misogyny over there and think it’s ok?

      • morrigan01 says:

        Agree. Like, if the haters end-goal is to get Harry back to the UK without Meghan and Archie . . . do they *really* think harassing his wife and son *whome he left the UK and the BRF for in the first place* is REALLY going to make him do it? He knows he has a better chance of protecting them being WITH them than giving into the harassment.

        All they are doing is pissing Harry off more with their hate, and lies and nonsense. Harry will burn the RRs, BM and BRF down to the ground to protected Meghan and Archie if they are all behind this stuff and keep pushing him in this way. Do they REALLY not see that or get it? Given how they reacted to Diana’s death initially, as well as thinking Prince Andrew’s was a good thing and had gone well? No, I don’t think they get it at all.

      • Olenna says:

        Most of these people are unstable or have self-esteem, substance abuse or personality disorders. These issues come up in their TLs at times. Some are motivated by envy and others by hate (racism). Until they can fixate on someone else, Meghan will be their target Indefinitely.

    • Nic919 says:

      There needs to be a description of the John or jane doe in the pleadings so it’s unlikely that they are doing that. They are looking for the photographers who actually took the photos.

      That said they will find out who told the DM their location because it’s unlikely the DM will be allowed to keep that quiet.

  18. Abena Asantewaa says:

    H&M are not suing for pap pics taken in a public place. Imagine, relaxing by your pool with your child and being photographed, constantly by drones, who could be terrorist? They should have an expectation of privacy in their own home, it means they have become weary and anxious of going out in their own background, it is bad enough with the pandemic and lockdown, without having to put up with this global harassment and by proxy, their neighbours. It’s a nuisance. Can you imagine the noise! I say SUE!

  19. Liz version 700 says:

    My God they must get so tired of this. The point seems to be to terrorize them back to England. I would never go back not even for a day at this point

    • S808 says:

      I’m sure it is tiring, but if I were them, I rather sue the paps till I’m blue in the face than go be among the BRF again.

      • Liz version 700 says:

        Yes agree 💯 they know the RF made this situation and used them to bait the Royal Rota. If you knew what I know. Sue them all Harry

  20. Lizzie says:

    Is it illegal to aim a leaf blower or power washer at a drone?

    • Scollins says:

      or a paintball gun or taser?

      • molly says:

        Unfortunately, that’s all illegal. Drone technology has moved far faster than privacy laws.
        Because drones are technically regarded as aircraft, it’s illegal to take one down, just as it would be for a plane or helicopter.

      • Lizzie says:

        Thanks Molly.
        Now I’m thinking of mirrors. Not sure exactly how that would work but the drones would only film themselves.

      • Lady D says:

        I would use a net to catch it and then put it in a box in the yard. The owner can come and get it. Or load a water gun with birdshit, and spray it.

      • Jane's Wasted Talent says:

        If the fines for taking down a drone were less than the cost of my persecutors buying a new drone, I’d consider it worth it.

    • Marigold says:

      Whether it is or isn’t, if a neighbor flies one into my back yard and leaves it hovering within broom handle range, I’m going to take it down.

      Now, I’m not a total grinch. I know people get these things and have fun with them, completely innocent of any intention to harm or invade privacy. If a neighbor loses control of his/her drone and it crashes in my yard or lands in my yard or flies through my yard or even pauses in my yard…I will smile and go on about my day. I’ll even gently pick it up and try to find out who it belongs to so I can return it.

      BUT

      If, however, said drone starts parking its ass in my yard daily, I’m going to break it, and they can come after me if they want to. Let’s play.

  21. BnLurkN4eva says:

    Does anyone know if it’s illegal to shoot these drones down? It doesn’t even need to be real bullets just something that could take them out. If it’s legal it might be worth it to have one of their guards assigned just to target and take them down every time they appear.

    I feel so badly for these two. It seems they’ve done everything possible to get on with their lives the best they can and the BM will not let them live in peace. They attempt to turn everything H/M do into a negative and make almost all articles on the BRF about H/M. It’s so weird this fixation on two people they claim are irrelevant. There’s a pandemic raging and H/M are stuck in place like most people, yet they are still being hounded. I wouldn’t be surprised if they move again before too much longer.

    Anyone else thinks that the BM learned their location when Charles reportedly got COVID? I think Harry made contact and somehow provide his where about around that time and it was turned over to the BM. My very first conspiracy theory is that maybe Charles was not infected and just pretended to be to lure Harry into reaching out. Maybe that’s too far fetched even for those people, but that’s how little I trust the BM and BRF.

    • Jane's Wasted Talent says:

      Apparently it’s illegal under federal law, as they are classified as aircraft. That’s an easy fix- time to reclassify.

      Interestingly, in my city drones are illegal and everything I’ve ever heard is that you could try shooting them down but you’d have to be extremely careful of property damage, harming people below, etc but I’ve never heard that we’ll be punished at the municipal level. A quick google search said that such an action would be ‘riding the line’ (great legal terminology, hm?) and no case has been tested in court yet. I know federal trumps municipal, but I still find this encouraging.

      I also read a headline somewhere that people are shooting them down in Malibu.

      • LaraW” says:

        Did a brief search on this question:
        The idea behind classifying drones as aircraft is that the drone has to be registered with the FAA; fliers need to pass a test on operating drones safely and legally and obtain a license; in some cases drone operators are subject to background checks depending on the type and intended use of the drone. It gives the FAA power to regulate their use and bring civil and criminal charges against unlicensed operators flying unregistered drones.

        Do people register their drones or even know that they need to register the drone? No. You can report illegal/dangerous behavior to the FAA and they will investigate the matter. However, this also requires the reporter to understand what is legal and illegal drone activity- otherwise it’s a waste of the FAA’s time and resources.

        For those curious on how drones are regulated, the article from PC Mag seems to give a good basic overview: https://www.pcmag.com/news/drone-regulations-what-you-need-to-know

  22. Ginger says:

    I hate the talk of “If Harry and Meghan didn’t live in LA this wouldn’t have happened” We know that isn’t true. If they lived in a small town in Idaho this still would have happened.

    • Alexandria says:

      I guess they can try my country (Singapore), we’re pretty strict about drone flying and there are residential areas where drones are disallowed. HK and China celebs like to stay here. But of course in the public eye anyone can take their photos. They just cannot commercialize them without permission. Problem is their work is not centred around this region. I thought Canada would be better paparazzi-wise but I’m not sure.

      I find this really scary for them and will not be surprised they might move again (won’t blame them.)

  23. morrigan01 says:

    As I said above, in 2015, CA passed a law making it illegal for paps *specifically* to fly drones over private residences to take pictures of people when they are on their private property.

    So whomever it was that actually flew the drone and took the pictures is going to face a criminal offense. Because they broke state law. Period.

    No US media outlet has published any of the pictures nor have the talked about the pictures outside of it being related to the invasion of privacy and this lawsuit. Not even TMZ. And when TMZ won’t talk about or post your pap pics outside of the legal matters related to them that tells you everything.

    It’s not US media outlets going after them like this. And them living in the UK didn’t protect them from this as this exact same thing happened before in the UK. Harry sued the people who did it when it happened in the UK and won. He’s likely going to win this one too. That are not any safer living in the UK when it comes to this stuff than they are in the US. The difference is the US media – mainstream and tabloid, because they are separate entities here – isn’t smearing them (especially Meghan) constantly 24/7.

  24. Charfromdarock says:

    I made the mistake of reading some of the comments on twitter. People suck.

    What I don’t understand are the fan hate sites. Corporations like fail are one thing but people at home spreading such hate?

    I mean, yes I read and post here and in SM but that’s only a few minutes here and there.

    Between work, taking care of family, laundry, walking the dog etc, who has the time and energy to be so invested in a stranger’s life?

  25. pnp says:

    I think at some point these two are going to have to choose between peace of mind and the right to be left alone etc. As much as I sympathize with them taking on the whole world is going to take a toll. All I’m saying is they are going to have to choose their battles or they will end up living very bitter, victimized lives. In a perfect world they should be able to live anywhere without being hounded. But moving to LA from my layman’s point of view seems like an out of the frying pan and into the fire situation. Is there something I’m missing? Do they have some strong ties to LA? If you have the resources they have why not prioritize your families emotional and mental well-being and just not be in the center of all that craziness. I’m not naive to think the attention would entirely go away wherever they moved to but I do think it would be less. Anyway these are just my uneducated thoughts. Its very easy to provide answers when its not your life. Good luck to them.

    • morrigan01 says:

      ” Do they have some strong ties to LA? ”

      Are you seriously asking if they have ties to LA? The city Meghan was BORN AND RAISED IN!? WHERE HER MOTHER STILL LIVES!? My God, if my eyes could roll out of my head they would at this.

      And FYI, California – LA in particularly – have anti paparazzi laws on the books. (Like, literally, they are called anti-paparazzi laws). There is one in particular that makes it illegal for the paparazzi to fly drones over private property and take pictures of people. It’s a state wide law.

      The LA Press didn’t do this. The US press didn’t do this. The LA and US tabs didn’t do this because they know they would have been sued to hell and back if they had tired it. This is some foreign entity doing this kind of targeting pure and simple. They would try it no matter where they were, because they already have in the UK and Canada. LA isn’t unique wrt this. If anything, they are a bit MORE protected because the US press isn’t smearing them 24-7 like the UK press was ON TOP of things like this happening.

    • ABritGuest says:

      Strong ties- yes LA is where Meghan was born and raised and where the only loyal relative that has been 100% loyal to them lives. It seems they ignored general pap actions but drew a line when photos were taken of their child on private property.

      And really they’ve had invasive drones/helicopter& pap pics when they were in Cotswold, Windsor and Vancouver Island so no matter where they are living press will harass whilst they are clickbait. So I don’t blame them for trying to draw a line.

      With the letter action they were discussing with lawyers for the Fail& asking for Meghan’s letter to be returned for 7 months but the Fail was rebuffing them so they must have felt no choice to resolve that issue. Obviously not sustainable to launch legal action after legal action but when they ignored the press, that never deterred them either. if they didn’t do anything as Zora Neale Hurston said “If you are silent about your pain, they’ll kill you and say you enjoyed it.”

      The royal family and Thomas Markle helped create this impossible situation with the press with their leaks.

    • Nic919 says:

      Why is Meghan not allowed to return to the city where she grew up and where her mother still resides? This is asinine. The level of gaslighting on this is insane.

    • notasugarhere says:

      Are they supposed to allow drones to constantly fly onto their property and invade their privacy?

      Take it back to tumblr.

    • Marigold says:

      LA is not that crazy. Los Angeles is a MASSIVE city, and the sprawl for the greater metro area is beyond what most people are thinking of. People think of LA and imagine Hollywood. They imagine a place that is hopping with traffic and celebrities and pop culture all the time. That is a very small part of the LA area.

      People refer to the entire metro area as “L.A.,” but it actually encompasses an entire county of multiple cities that spread all the way from the mountains down to the northern end of overlap with San Diego’s sprawl.

      The majority of LA is just normal residential areas interspersed with commercial centers. There is nothing more “crazy” about LA than any other city in America. Dallas, Chicago, Atlanta…with palm trees. Same thing.

      Not to mention the fact that Megan is FROM LA. She was born and raised there and her mother lives there. People who don’t know LA should refrain from passing judgment on people who choose to live there.

  26. Anoni Mus says:

    Sadly, they won’t be left alone anytime soon. The only way is for people to stop clicking on stories about them, including us on this site. If their pictures aren’t sought out they become worthless.

  27. BnLurkN4eva says:

    They will get through this. I like that they continue to fight back though it shows that they are determined to live their lives the way they choose and I don’t think you should ever back down from bullies, which is what the BM continue to prove to be. I say go H/M – fight , fight, fight.

  28. Kkat says:

    What’s perfectly legal in California is to be out in the backyard power washing your “trees” and oh no you accidentally knocked down a drone that then shatters into a million pieces once it’s on the ground.
    We had a drone problem in our L.A county neighborhood, peeping Tom’s looking in windows. So the neighbors got together and found out if it’s over your property you’re not legally responsible if they accidentally get knocked down and crash.

  29. Mariane says:

    Happy to see they’re fighting back. They are no longer muzzled by RF & controlled by courtiers. The California law is pretty clear. They’re due to win alot of money from damages+get the names of paparazzi & media editors who made a bounty on those pictures. DM practically told everyone to go harass them by reporting them staying there & they even used a drone picture which showed inside of front reception room. They better be ready to pay up millions
    The sussexs can practically support themselves via these lawsuits

  30. SJR says:

    IMO, 2020 has been terrible in so many ways.
    I no longer can give a ratsass about the BRF. These are the most spoiled, entitled, stupidly wealthy humans on the planet all of them.

    When Liz passes, abolish the BRF completely. Oi, you rich f’ers..heads up!
    You are now unemployed.
    Prince Andrew should be in jail. Period.

    • Lady D says:

      No longer willing to wait for her passing. I believe she needs to see what her actions/inactions and favouritism towards her rapist child has done to her legacy. Helping Boris with Brexit and allowing the racism towards Meghan (and Archie) to fly freely without doing or saying one thing to stop it? She needs to see the consequences of her actions.

  31. BnLurkN4eva says:

    It seems H/M are trying not to be a part of that life you are tired of also, but the BM won’t let them be. They are not using any titles, they are not working for the firm and yet they are still being hounded, I think they shouldn’t be lumped in with the rest at this point since they are clearly trying to put that life behind them. What else can they do at this point to make it clear they are out?

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