Hilary Duff has always been protective of her children's privacy — and after a tense moment this weekend when she asked a man to stop photographing her 7-year-old son playing soccer and he refused, the actress and mom is taking a stand.
The star of "Younger" and former "Lizzie McGuire" actress shared a video of the encounter over the weekend. Throughout the video, she focused her phone's camera on the man taking pictures of the soccer players.
"Hey, who are you here with?" the actress asked.
The man, who appeared to be at the game by himself, replied "I'm here with me," and said that he didn't know any of the players on the team. Duff then asked him to "stop taking pictures of the kids, please," to which he replied "It's legal."
"It's making me feel really uncomfortable," said Duff.
"Well, you shouldn't feel uncomfortable. You want me to show you ID?" replied the man. Duff said that she "was not asking for" his identification and only wanted him to "stop taking pictures of our 7-year-old children."
The man continued to repeat that it "was not against the law" to take pictures of the children.
"I'm taking pictures, I'm practicing photography, and I'm not here to scare you or anything like that," he told Duff. "Your paranoia is unwarranted, that's what I'm telling you."
Duff repeated that there was an "uncomfortability factor" with a stranger taking photos of young children.
"They're our children, and we would like to protect them, so if you could take pictures and practice your photography somewhere else?" she asked. When the man refused, she said that she would "post (the video) to 15 million followers on Instagram," at which point the man covered the lens of her camera with his hand.
Two people commented on Duff's Instagram thread saying they know the photographer; TODAY Parents reached out in an attempt to contact him, but did not hear back.
Other celebrities and parents chimed in in the video comments with support for Duff.
"THIS IS INFURIATING," wrote actress Busy Philipps. "This isn't about his job or his 'rights.' This is about his OWN perceived POWER over others... I know it's illegal for an adult not with a child to be inside a playground — how is taking pictures of children without parental consent legal?"
Actress Emmy Rossum added that "children should be protected under the law," while "Twilight" actress Nikki Reed said that the encounter should "ignite a huge conversation around paparazzi laws and what is deemed 'OK.'"
Duff's team told TODAY Parents that any updates on the situation would come from the actress's Instagram account.
Duff later clarified the situation on her Instagram Stories, sharing a minute-long monologue of her thoughts on the encounter on Monday evening.
"I was just having more thoughts about what happened over the weekend with Luca and his football game," explained Duff, who said that she wasn't sure if the man was a paparazzi or just a random stranger since she "recognizes most of the paparazzi" who take photos of her. "I didn't even notice him at first, because I thought he was a family member of the other team."
Duff said that the man took photographs of the soccer game for about 35 minutes before she went over to the other team's parents and asked if anyone knew him. When they didn't, and when other parents on her team started to become concerned, she said she decided to confront him.
"No one seemed to know him, and that's when I went up and asked him if he knew any of the families there or any of the kids and he, you know, said what he said," she said. "It's really highly frustrating."
She explained that she called the police, but said officers were "pretty dismissive" of her and said "'What do you want us to do, you're at a public park.'" TODAY Parents was not able to confirm the police's comment.
"Yeah, I'm at a public park, I'm at a place where kids play, and kids should be safe here," she said in her story. "I mean, we're all watching, but it's just extremely strange and inappropriate and creepy to have a man photographing our 7-year-old children and for that to be completely legal."
Duff called for a change to laws that make it legal for people in a public place to be photographed.
"If a parent is asking you to stop, the laws should be changed for you to not be able to photograph that person," she said. "I understand if you're out and you're just taking pictures and there happens to be kids in the background, or if a parent is saying that it's OK that you photograph their kids randomly... I get it. But if those kids are the subject of your photography practice over and over and over again, for you know, minutes or a half hour or however long it was, and you ask someone to please stop that, you should have that right."
"We really need to work on changing that law," Duff continued. "If you notice, at the end of the video... he put his hand up because he didn't want to be filmed anymore... so we should be able to, as parents, make that choice for our 7-year-olds not to be filmed."