Paparazzi Photog Quits Agency to Protest "Out of Control" Britney Spears Pursuits

February 1, 2008 11:49 AM ET

One paparazzo fears that the relentless hounding of Britney Spears may one day lead to tragedy, especially since throngs of photographers often dangerously chase the beleaguered pop star in hopes of getting a picture during her ongoing meltdown. Nick Stern, a former photographer for celebrity picture agency Splash, says that it's not uncommon for paparazzi to "have twenty or thirty cars pursuing her at any one time. It's become acceptable to drive at 80 mph down the wrong side of the street into oncoming traffic." This tabloid carnival drove Stern to quit his agency. Even yesterday, when the LAPD employed a Desert Storm-like siege of Spears' mansion to covertly transfer Brit to a mental health facility, the paparazzi formed a football-field-long line of vehicles in pursuit of the emergency transport. Conflicts between the paparazzi are intense as well, as fights often break out, pursuing vehicles crash into one another and tires are slashed in an effort to impede the competition. Stern fears Britney might share a similar fate as Princess Diana if the paparazzi continue to hound the singer with such ruthless tactics.

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Britney Goes to Court (Sort of), Prays at Church, Eats Empanadas, Loses Visitation Rights
Britney Spears Hospitalized After "Hostage Brituation" Involving Her Two Kids; Released Next Day

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Song Stories

“Bird on a Wire”

Leonard Cohen | 1969

While living on the Greek island of Hydra, Cohen was battling a lingering depression when his girlfriend handed him a guitar and suggested he play something. After spotting a bird on a telephone wire, Cohen wrote this prayer-like song of guilt. First recorded by Judy Collins, it would be performed numerous times by artists incuding Johnny Cash, Joe Cocker and Rita Coolidge. "I'm always knocked out when I hear my songs covered or used in some situation," Cohen told Rolling Stone. "I've never gotten over the fact that people out there like my music."

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