While there’s truth to the notion that fans make the stars, celebrities are still human beings. They don’t deserve to be treated like a commodity. We may feel that we know them, but they don’t know us.
There are a few stars who are more than happy to accommodate fans. Actors like Elijah Wood, Tom Hanks, and Cole Sprouse have even turned the celebrity photo into an art form. But there are others who just aren’t that into it.
It doesn’t matter how much money we’ve contributed to their box office earnings. Stars don’t owe us anything. Most have perfectly reasonable explanations for refusing a photo. Some just want a day to themselves or with their family. Maybe it’s just not a good time.
More accommodating celebrities have even offered an alternative interaction like a handshake, a hug, or a Q&A session, but they say that people rarely take them up on it. For this reason, several celebrities have pointed out the distinction between true fans and people who just want the bragging rights of having a photo with anyone famous.
If the stars are just like us, they deserve human decency.
Here are 16 Stars Who Refused To Take Photos With Fans.
16 Amy Schumer
Comedian Amy Schumer has a history of affable interactions with fans, but in 2016, a particularly rude and aggressive man ruined things for the rest of us. Schumer posted a photo to her Instagram of the unrepentant fan along with the story behind it.
“This guy in front of his family just ran up next to me scared the s-- out of me. Put a camera in my face. I asked him to stop and he said, ‘No, it’s America and we paid for you.’ This was in front of his daughter. I was saying stop and no. Great message to your kid. Yes, legally you are allowed to take a picture of me, But I was asking you to stop and saying no. I will not take pictures with people anymore and it’s because of this dude in Greenville.”
15 Kit Harington
Though Kit Harington loves his job, he has not adjusted well to his sudden A-List status. In the early days of shooting Game of Thrones, Harington still enjoyed a degree of anonymity. “We weren’t being recognized in the street, we didn’t know what we were doing, we were having a great time.”
But these days, that’s all gone out the window. The particulars of fame make the King of the North “moody”, especially “the photo thing.” He told The Guardian, “It feels like being Bieber or something. You just have to [decline] otherwise you start feeling like a mannequin.”
He’s especially inclined to refuse if he’s out and about with his fiancé, actress Rose Leslie. “We never do a photo together… Because then it makes our relationship feel like… puppets. Like we're a walking show."
14 Jennifer Lawrence
The Hunger Games stars Jennifer Lawrence has a reputation for being down-to-earth and friendly, giving many fans a feeling of kinship.
But such openness took its toll on Lawrence.
Though she will still occasionally acquiesce to a photo, she has learned that saying no has had a positive effect on her mental state.
In 2013, she told CNN, “It used to be I didn't want to go out, I didn't want to go to dinner. If I went to dinner, I was wrapped up and then I was like, you know what? I don't have to do it. I can just say no, and that's helped a lot. So, it is hard because you don't want to feel rude, because they're people, but at the same time, I have to defend my life and my mental wellness."
13 Emma Watson
Emma Watson has a very specific reason for saying no to fan photos. She told Vanity Fair, “If someone takes a photograph of me and posts it, within two seconds they’ve created a marker of exactly where I am within 10 meters. They can see what I’m wearing and who I’m with. I just can’t give that tracking data… For me, it's the difference between being able to have a life and not.”
Maybe she was influenced by her techno-dystopian film, The Circle.
Don’t let that stop you from approaching her. Watson is happy to speak to fans, so long as they don’t photograph the encounter. “I will sit here and answer every single Harry Potter fandom question you have but I just can't do a picture.” Sadly, she says most don’t take her up on her offer.
12 Maisie Williams
On Game of Thrones, 19-year-old Maisie Williams has grown up before our eyes. For that reason, fans can sometimes project onto her a familial ownership. Though she loves her fans and is grateful for the career they’ve given her, she feels that she’s under no obligation to interact with them or take a photo.
There are days when Williams is accommodating, but, as she told Nylon, “I still don’t feel like I owe anyone anything. If I don’t want a picture one day, I don’t have a problem saying no. I know some people get really weird about that, like, ‘You’re so mean.’ But if I was really in love with someone, I wouldn’t just want a picture. I would want to hang out with them.”
11 Ian Somerhalder
Somerhalder has a huge social media presence, and generally prides himself on his willingness to interact with fan, but he wasn’t feeling particularly congenial on a May 2015 visit to Paris, when locals approached him outside his hotel. As he left with building with wife, Nikki Reed, The Vampire Diaries star addressed the crowd. “Hey guys, listen. No, no, stop. Everybody, listen, I love you guys. I’m not taking a single photo today; it’s my day…”
When a fan begged him for “just one” photo, he curtly responded, “No, it’s not just one,” implying that he would have then have to pose with everybody.
Afterward, one fan tweeted: “the time it took ian somerhalder to rant at those fans he could have taken pictures and walked away.”
10 Tobey Maguire
Aaron Sorkin claims that the antagonist of Molly’s Game is an amalgamation of poorly behaved celebrities with whom Molly Bloom dealt in her underground high-stakes poker tournaments. But readers of Bloom's poker memoir know that Tobey Maguire is responsible for many of Player X’s transgressions.
In a head-to-head hand, Maguire convinced a player to fold after swearing “on [his] mother’s life” that he had his opponent beat. When the other player conceded, Maguire smugly (and unnecessarily) revealed that he had been bluffing, before raking in the chips. The Spider-Man actor also asked Bloom to “bark like a seal who wants a fish” in order to “earn” a $1000 poker chip. (She refused.)
So it may not be surprising that, as depicted in a popular YouTube video, Maguire slapped the camera out of a fan’s hand when he tried to snap a celebrity selfie.
9 Shailene Woodley
Shailene Woodley reports a variety of reactions when she informs fans that she will not take a photo with them. Some are offended or mystified. Others are more than happy to accept her counteroffer of a hug.
The Big Little Lies actress told Glamour, “With social media, so much of our lives I feel like is a projection of who we want to be or who we wish we were. And I refuse to buy into that, especially for younger generations… The more we allow a certain projection, the more we’re feeding a generation to distance themselves from self-awareness and self-realization, which I think will create a lot of issues for them on a personal level later on in life.”
Fortunately, her explanation will occasionally get through to the fan and they will even apologize for having asked.
8 Russell Crowe
The L.A. Confidential star is often happy to take time out of his day for a fan - but not if he’s with his kids. He told Larry King, “I try to say very simply to somebody: I’m with my kids, have a great day.’ So at least they know I’m concerned about their wellbeing and hope that they have an enjoyable day, but I don’t want to steal time from my children.”
At first, Crowe’s empathetic son had encouraged his father to take pictures with fans so that they wouldn’t “get sad," but it wasn’t long before it became an intrusion on their time together. “After two days, my little one said, ‘I think you can stop that now, Dad.”
7 Frances McDormand
The Oscar-nominated star of Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri, Frances McDomand refuses to ascribe to the social duties of being a star. But she didn’t adopt an official policy until fans began approaching her while she was out with her son.
She told The New York Times, “Now what I do — because this is how I live — when someone approaches me and says, ‘Can I have your autograph,’ I say: ‘No, I’ve retired from that part of the business. I just act now.’”
She’s more than happy to interact with fans, so long as there’s no photographic evidence.
“I say: ‘What’s your name? I touch them. I look at them. I have a real exchange… I’m not an actor because I want my picture taken. I’m an actor because I want to be part of the human exchange.”
6 Emily Blunt
Frances McDormand has influenced other celebrities with her fan-greeting philosophy. The Girl on the Train actress told Vanity Fair that she takes a cue from McDormand whenever a fan requests a selfie with her.
“Frances McDormand told [Blunt and husband, John Krasinksi]… when someone asks her for a picture, she says, ‘You know what? I’ve actually retired from that. But I would like to shake your hand and meet you.’”.
The star of the upcoming Mary Poppins Returns blames popular sites like Facebook and Instagram for her perceived decline in the quality of interactions between fans and celebrities. “Social media has changed the landscape, so an encounter with you is valued more as a social-media currency than a genuine interaction.”
5 James Hetfield (Metallica)
Metallica front man James Hetfield told iHeartRadio that he used to give in to fan demands because he worried that refusal would paint him in a negative light. “I used to get so worried that if I say, ‘No. My kids are here, I’m enjoying a family moment,’ that they’ll turn around and say, ‘You’re a dick! What a rock star!”
Eventually his accommodation took its toll. So, he came up with a compromise that would make the fans happy and also afford him a bit of normalcy. “I don’t do photos, I don’t sign, I will shake your hand and I’ll talk with you for five minutes. I’d rather do that and leave that kind of impression than someone just stealing a little piece of your privacy.”
4 Princes Harry & William
It may not be official British Monarchy policy, but both Harry and William have vocalized disdain for “the selfie”. Harry has occasionally acquiesced to a stand-alone photo, but won’t do a photo with the person.
At a 2015 event, a fan reported that the future Duke of Sussex gave her a short lecture during their brief interaction, saying, "No, I hate selfies. Seriously, you need to get out of it. I know you're young, but selfies are bad. Just take a normal photograph."
William agrees. Fans the world over have reported that the Duke of Cambridge has declined to take a photo with them, even if approached on holiday or in a night club. One clubber told the Sun that William turned down a loyal subject by saying, “One doesn’t do selfies.”
3 Tommy Lee (Motley Crue)
Mötley Crüe drummer Tommy Lee has a word for fans who request photos. In fact, he has over 400 words.
In an occasionally third-person Facebook screed, Lee insisted that, “[fans will] probably tell ya that he’s a down to earth grateful life lovin dude and a nice guy too. What I have a problem with is... Taking pictures! I hate it!... You dont admire something so that it can give back... You just cherish it!... I’m not here to take pictures with you, I’m here to entertain you!”
He goes on to praise his talent, romantic prowess, and parenting, before concluding that it’s all about “Consciousness.” “It’s the quality or state of being aware of an external object or something within oneself…Sincerely yours, The Picture Taker Hater! Tommy Lee”
2 Chris Pratt
In a June 2017 interview with Cigar Aficionado, Guardians of the Galaxy star Chris Pratt claims that fame has changed him from a laid-back, Andy Dwyer type to someone who needs to make every moment count. “I’ve always been a pretty deferential, go-with-the-flow guy. But now I have to be economical with my time… If I go out and want to do normal things, I have to be comfortable disappointing people.”
Part of that normalcy involves turning down pictures for fans.
“I just don’t take pictures with people. Because that’s not about enjoying the moment; it’s about stealing the moment to brag about later.” Pratt is happy to meet a fan, but finds they’re rarely satisfied with interacting on his terms. “So, I say, ‘Would you settle for a handshake?’ And then they take the picture anyway.”
1 Justin Bieber
If the Biebs has a message for his fans, he need only post it on Instagram, where he can reach 96 million followers at once. Chances are, everyone with Bieber Fever saw his 2016 declaration that he would no longer be taking photos with fans.
“It has gotten to the point that people won’t even say hi to me or recognize me as a human. I feel like a zoo animal, and I wanna be able to keep my sanity. I realize people will be disappointed, but I don’t owe anybody a picture. And people who say, ‘But I bought your album’, know that you got my album and you got what you paid for – AN ALBUM! It doesn’t say in fine print whenever you see me you also get a photo.”
Do you know of any other celebs who have refused to take pictures with fans? Let us know in the comments!