CELEBRITY PHOTO AGENCY OWNER'S GREED GAVE BIRTH TO PAPARAZZINOTEBOOK.COM IN 2007
by JOHN BOBOY SHINN III
The celebrity photo agency I was working for when I got the JULIA ROBERTS pictures used for the feature story (see our main page), MJJPHOTOS, never paid me a penny for these photos---and several other sets that included Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie
and their kids, including Pax Jolie Pitt's, (the Vietnamese boy they adopted in Vietnam) first pictures in America.
I estimate that YOUSSEF KONEH (alias Yvan or Joe), owner of MJJPHOTOS, owed me about $60,000 in unpaid sales commi-
ssion from my photos in the two months that I worked for him at MJJPHOTOS.
KONEH ripped off so many unsuspecting freelance photographers---that I simply lost count---of over $500,000! KONEH is
now in hiding (somewhere in Sillicon Valley in Northern California), but still recruiting unsuspecting photographers using Craigslist---in some cases Craigslist Berlin and other states in the U.S. as well---to advertise for "paparazzi photographers."
In addition to MJJPHOTOS, BAUER-GRIFFIN and SPLASH NEWS, I have been duped by four (4) other celebrity photo agencies based here in Hollywood---for another $120,000 or more.... I've never seen GREED (by celebrity photo agency owners) this bad
and this close in Hollywood. All in all, I was never paid by these seven (7) agencies--totaling a little over $200,000 since I
became a paparazzo in March 2007!
My bad experience with KONEH---a French citizen originally from Nigeria---and his MJJPHOTOS, prompted me to launch PaparazziNotebook.com in September of 2007 to warn others about KONEH and to expose his "modus operandi" and other celebrity photo agencies here in Hollywood who were ripping off unsuspecting freelance photographers.
After being ripped off by MJJPHOTOS I was offered a job at BAUER-GRIFFIN. At BAUER-GRIFFIN, not only was I also ripped
off evebntually, I had to endure FRANK GRIFFIN's "verbal abuse" daily for two years. In the two years I worked at BAUER-
GRIFFIN, I was never paid for any blog sales of my pictures worldwide. When I asked RANDY BAUER about my blog sales, he
simply shrugged his shoulders and said it was placed in a "defense fund" to sue controversial Hollywood blogger PEREZ HILTON. When I told BAUER that I had nothing to do with their case against HILTON---since I was a freelancer--- and I wanted to be paid
for two years of my worldwide photo blog sales, BAUER said it wasn't ennough to pay rent for a $700 camera he loaned me!
Things got so bad at BAUER-GRIFFIN that a month before I left in January of 2009, eleven (11) photographers quit on the same day---all because of problems of worldwide sales of their pictures that BAUER-GRIFFIN had refused to pay them!
If there is any inndication how bad the situation at BAUER-GRIFFIN has become, another celebrity photo agency based in Europe, had discountinued their business relationship with BAUER-GRIFFIN early this year (2011) because, as one source
familiar with the matter told PaparazziNotebook.com that the European agency concerned also got ripped off on the sales of
some "exclusive" first photos of a popular celebrity couple (confirming their romance at a hotel pool) that the European agency gave BAUER-GRIFFIN for distribution in the U.S. market. "They got burned so bad by BAUER-GRIFFIN," the source said.
I've met so many celebrity photographers here in Hollywood who were victimized by the GREEDY owners of the celebrity
photo agencies. A number of them, unable to collect what was owed to them, either went back to their native countries---
or have since switched jobs in order to survive in this tough economy. Even more disheartening, I met others who have lost their cars or were evicted from their apartments or the houses they were renting because they were not paid what was due to them!
While the average paparazzo is struggling--- these celebrity photo agency owners live the same lifestyles as the celebrities
we cover and own one or two multi-million dollar homes. If you don't believe me, try talking to any of the paps you see on the streets---and he or she can tell you his or her own personal story about being ripped off by the previous agency they worked
These celebrity photo agency owners have become so bold and greedy that they not only get their 40% sales commision after selling our pictures---they even steal the photographer's 60% in sales commission! The paps who were ripped off feel helpless---
and can't do anything to get back the money that was rightfully theirs---from these greedy agency owners.
While thesse agencies may be competitors when it comes to getting the celebrity pictures---in the background, they are
united to quash and blackball any photographer who dared question them because they-operate like a CARTEL!
And if I did not become a victim myself---these agency owners would not have been exposed---and would continue to rip off unsuspecting, hard-working celebrity photographers of their hard-earned money!
But what makes this struggle---against these greedy celebrity photo agency owners---very personal for me is this: when my father passed away on July 9, 2009, I only had $20 in my pocket and SPLASH NEWS (I was giving them all my "exclusive" photo
and video set) never sent me any payment that month. They did not even give any cash advance. And, worse, no one at SPLASH NEWS even sent me an e-mail expressing their condolences for my Dad's passing away. That's how cold-hearted these people are.
So, the struggle for the rights of the ordinary paparazzo continues----even if it takes me a lifetime to get the paps to start believing in themselves for them to start speaking out for their rights. The paps have the right to get paid accordingly of their hard-earned money...for their hardwork.
This is America...where hope and justice is alive. We strongly believe that in the end GOOD and JUSTICE will prevail over
these BAD, COLD-HEARTED and GREEDY agency owners. (END)
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