As one of the world’s most in-demand models, Gigi Hadid is used to being in front of the lens – however, it’s not always on her terms. The 23-year-old catwalk icon has been captured coming out of her home, with her family, and leaving events for years by the paparazzi, and now the half-Palestinian star is fighting back after she was threatened with legal action by a photographer.
After reposting a (now-deleted) street-style snap taken by a paparazzo on her Instagram feed, Hadid revealed she was being “legally pursued” for using the image – in which she was the subject. “The photo is by a paparazzi and is of me on the street outside an event last week,” the model told her 43.8 million followers after removing the image. “I posed/smiled for the photo because I understand that this is part of my job.” The star revealed she understands photographers need to earn a living, and while she empathized with their need to attend events, it is their intrusive presence in her personal life that Hadid has had enough of.
Using the potential lawsuit as an opportunity to speak out on the invasive nature of the industry, Hadid revealed the dangerous lengths photographers go to in a bid for the perfect picture. “These people make money off us everyday, legally stalking us day in and day out – for nothing special – for us to walk six feet to a car and six feet into a work building,” the model said in her length statement. “They drive dangerously close and extremely recklessly; they put the general public in danger in pursuit of a photo.”
Hadid added that she had originally found the uncredited image on Twitter, and “had no way of knowing which of the 15+ photographers outside that day took these exact photos”. “If the person had just commented on my photo I would have been happy to tag and give you credit,” she added. “To the paparazzi, I understand that this is how you make your living, and I respect that this is something I must accept with my job. But there is a line. We are human beings, and sometimes it takes a lot of courage to engage with you because of the resentment I feel for the negative parts of these experiences.”
The model’s post won praise in the comments, with A-listers turning out to support the model and laud her powerful stance. “We gotta change this,” said Kendall Jenner, while Hadid’s younger sister, Bella, wrote: “Well said sister! Thank you.” Ruby Rose, Emily Ratajkowksi, Candice Swanepoel, and Olivia Culpo were among those who left comments, with Khloé Kardashian also sharing her own similar experience. “I was sued for hundreds of thousands for posting a picture of myself. I don’t understand how it’s right that they literally stalk us and taunt us and they are allowed to sue us for posting our own photo,” the reality star wrote.
Fellow model Coco Rocha also backed up Hadid, adding that the current system need to change. “In my opinion, any time someone takes your photo – without your written consent or any binding legal agreement – the default should be that you and the photographer have now ‘collaborated’ and you have as much right to own and use that image and dictate its use as the person taking it (if not more),” the Canadian catwalker said. “Your image is your brand, it’s the entire DNA of your business. You spend years developing this image, they spent 2 seconds clicking a button. The current status quo makes no sense.”