Since its founding in 1949, the iconic French weekly Paris Match has published countless photos of the rich and powerful — and every now and then, a paparazzi shot might cost them.

This time, instead, it was a homeless man demanding the magazine pay serious VIP money for running a photograph of him without his permission. Last week, a court in Nanterre, west of the French capital, ordered Paris Match to pay 40,000 euros to the man for publishing his picture, as part of an investigative article on crack cocaine addiction in Paris.

"Everyone, no matter their degree of celebrity, their wealth, their present or future occupation, has a right to privacy and enjoys exclusive right over their image which allows them to oppose its use […] without prior authorization," the court wrote in its decision.

The photo, published without the man's consent in January 2018, showed the unnamed 48-year-old smoking crack cocaine on a metro platform in northern Paris. Unlike other people in the photograph, his face was not blurred out, the daily Le Parisien reports.

Alerted by friends who recognized him in the Paris Match article, the homeless man sued the magazine: In May 2019, the magazine was ordered to pay him 10,000 euros in damages, but failed to remove the photograph from its website and app, resulting in an additional 30,000-euro fine last week.

Le Parisien quoted the man as saying that he used some of the money to "help out friends" and that he now may be able "to get [his] wife and children back."


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