Halle Berry is applauding a new paparazzi law that will protect the children of celebrities in California.
The 47-year-old actress, who is expecting her second child with husband Olivier Martinez, testified in support of the new legislation that was signed into law by California Gov. Jerry Brown Tuesday.
In a statement released to ABC News, she said, “I started this fight with a great deal of hope and a bit of uncertainty so I cannot express my immense gratitude that Gov. Brown has recognized, and acted to remedy, the plight of children who are tormented because of the identity or prominence of their parents. On behalf of my children, it is my hope that this is the beginning of the end for those overly aggressive paparazzi whose outrageous conduct has caused so much trauma and emotional distress.”
“This started as just a hope and a wish for my daughter,” said Berry, mother to 6-year-old Nahla.
In her statement, the Oscar-winning actress thanked Calif. Sen. Kevin de Leon, D-Los Angeles, who sponsored the anti-harassment legislation, which changes the definition of harassment to include photographing or recording a child without the permission of a legal guardian by following the child or guardian’s activities or by lying in wait.
The new law allows for $10,000 fines and civil law suits to be filed if paparazzi harass children to grab a shot purely because of who their parents are. Anyone convicted of a first offense could spend between 10 days and a year in jail.
Berry also thanked her fellow artists who lobbied alongside her.
“I am forever in awe of the support I got within my community, from the enormously talented musician Adele to fellow actor, Jennifer Garner, who traveled with me to Sacramento to share her children’s stories, experience and her desire to give them a better life,” she said in her statement. “I’m grateful to Nia Vardalos and the numerous parents who work as actors, musicians, as well as professionals in medicine, mental health, lawyers, judges and cops who have experienced their children being harassed, tormented or otherwise put in dangerous situations due to their parent’s profession and therefore lent their support.
“It is for all of us that I rejoice today and hope that this fight will continue and that the proper enforcement of this law will truly make a positive impact on the daily lives of all children,” she said.
Garner, who has three children with actor-director Ben Affleck, said in a statement to ABC News, “I’m elated that this bill has passed and that all kids will now be protected from harassment by the paparazzi. Halle Berry is my hero for leading this charge. I’m truly grateful to everyone involved in making this happen.”
In June, Berry gave emotional testimony at the California state capitol in Sacramento.
“My daughter doesn’t want to go to school because she knows ‘the men’ are watching for her,” the “Monster’s Ball” actress told the Assembly Committee on Public Safety. “They jump out of the bushes and from behind cars and who knows where else, besieging these children just to get a photo.”
She added: “I have to yell, ‘She’s a child. Leave my child alone. Leave my child alone.’ We get into the car, and my daughter is now sobbing, and she says to me, ‘Are they going to kill us? Are they going to kill us?’”
The legislation had been opposed on First Amendment grounds by the California Newspaper Publishers Association, the Motion Picture Association of America and the California Broadcasters Association.