LOS ANGELES – Los Angeles Police Chief William Bratton called a news conference Thursday to clarify his comment that the paparazzi are less trouble since "Lindsay Lohan has gone gay."
When asked about the Lohan remark — which followed months of tabloid speculation that Lohan and Samantha Ronson, a DJ, are dating — Bratton said his sister is gay and he is a huge proponent of gay rights. Bratton and his wife recently donated money to Equality California, a group that aims to block a ballot measure seeking to ban same-sex marriages.
Earlier, Bratton said of the paparazzi: "Since Britney started wearing clothes and behaving; Paris is out of town not bothering anybody anymore, thank God, and evidently, Lindsay Lohan has gone gay, we don't seem to have much of an issue."
Across the street in City Hall, Los Angeles City Councilman Dennis Zine led a more than three-hour session on the problems associated with the paparazzi. Speaking to an ad hoc panel of elected officials from area cities and the county sheriff, three entertainers spoke out about their experiences being followed by photographers.
John Mayer said he is frequently followed late at night by cars without license plates that pursue him all the way to his house, not even stopping at red lights.
"You are in danger," the musician said. "Without know who is following you, you do not know why you are being followed, which brings about a very really possibility of suffering harm."
Mayer was joined by actors Eric Roberts and Milo Ventimiglia, who also described negative encounters with the paparazzi. Ventimiglia likened some photographers to stalkers and said he had lost confidence in current laws. Roberts said he had spent $100,000 defending a lawsuit filed against him by a paparazzo for what he said was a frivolous claim following a shove to the photographer's lens outside a cinema.
Mayer said photographers should be credentialed and regulated, and all paparazzi should be required to display "a big white P" on their vehicle license plate.
"They act like a pack of wolves," Zine said at the meeting. "The behavior of the paparazzi is out of control, it needs to be reined in."
Zine, a former Los Angeles police sergeant, is spearheading the attempt to regulate the paparazzi, a cause he took up when he learned it cost a reported $25,000 for police to accompany Britney Spears to the hospital when she had a breakdown earlier this year.
The meeting came at a slow period for the paparazzi. Spears' behavior has stabilized under the conservatorship of her father; Lindsay Lohan has been keeping a lower profile and spending considerable time with gal pal Samantha Ronson; and Paris Hilton told AP earlier this year that she's "always traveling."
Without the paps' top targets in action, Bratton dismissed Zine's efforts as a "total waste of time."
The chief also took several jabs at the councilman and said he was wrong that it cost $25,000 to take Spears to the hospital.
"There are currently on the books sufficient laws, rules and regulations," Bratton said. "(Zine) doesn't know what the hell he is talking about."
The Associated Press contributed to this report.