The Paparazzi Are Just Another Headache at the Airport

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If you think going through baggage and customs is enough of a headache, at least you aren't famous. A celebrity photo company is being accused of breaching the privacy of over 70 celebrities in order to snap a quick photo of them getting off the plane, according to The Guardian. An employee working for Virgin Atlantic was reportedly sending travel information of notable celebrities to paparazzi photographers so they could meet them at the airport for an easy photo. A batch of emails sent from a Virgin Atlantic employee to freelance photographers was obtained verified by the Guardian from a source close to freelance photographers working for the company.

The company accused of using the information is Big Pictures, who call themselves "The World's Biggest and Best Celebrity Picture Agency." The emails between Big Pictures and the Virgin Atlantic employee were brought up during the Leveson inquiry into press standards on Friday. The founder of the company, Darryn Lyons, could be recalled for questioning. He already faced the inquiry in February. Celebrities affected by the scandal range from James May and Jeremey Clarkson, the popular hosts of BBC's Top Gear, to Madonna. Royalty aren't even safe, as Princess Beatrice's travel plans from some time last year. 

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The source inside Virgin even gave advice on which vacation destinations to avoid. Barbados wasn't hot in 2011, according to the source.

The Virgin employee quit her job on Thursday, hampering the company's internal investigation, and reportedly denies the claims. The Guardian decided not to print her name, and she hung up on them when they called asking for a comment. The Guardian claims to have seen the emails between the source and the photographers, but they did not mention if any money was exchanged for information. 

They also have a list of  celebrities that were in the leaked emails. Snaps if you can get through the first ten names without having to Google anyone. 

This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.