These days, canny celebrities know that by cozying up to individual photographers or agencies, they can influence how they are portrayed, discourage stalkerazzos, and even make a few bucks. Crass as it sounds, no one bats an eye anymore at the star who earns a down payment on her Malibu compound by selling shots of her newborn.
Then there’s Joe Simpson. The perpetually hustling father and manager of Jessica and Ashlee has gone beyond merely co-opting the paparazzi and has actually become one of them.
According to sources who’ve had recent dealings with him, Simpson has a tight working arrangement with WireImage, the mega-agency and wire service that rules the red-carpet at nearly every high-profile event in the western hemisphere. On several occasions, a camera-wielding Simpson has gone toe-to-toe with other snappers for shots of his own daughters, then approved only his own images for distribution through WireImage. At other times, he has provided the agency with exclusive (and even racy) shots of his daughters on family getaways or in other putatively private moments.