The Washington Post

Celebrity trend alert: Anne Hathaway and husband create signs for charity, foil the paparazzi

Actor Shia LaBeouf attends the 'Nymphomaniac Volume I (long version)' premiere in Berlin, Germany. (Photo by Clemens Bilan/Getty Images) Actor Shia LaBeouf attends the ‘Nymphomaniac Volume I (long version)’ premiere in Berlin, Germany. (Photo by Clemens Bilan/Getty Images)

Paper bags are so Shia LaBeouf.

For the celebrity who really wants to divert attention from their face to a more noble cause, cardboard is the new big brown bag.

On July 4, Anne Hathaway and her husband Adam Shulman were photographed walking their dogs in Brooklyn sporting ad hoc signs that covered their paparazzi-friendly faces.

Hathaway’s read, “Emma Stone and Andrew Garfield had a great idea! Please check out:,,”

Stone and Garfield, stars of “The Amazing Spider-Man” 1 and 2, began the budding trend in 2012 with handmade signs to “bring attention to organizations that need and deserve it.” This June, the real-life twosome continued their silent protest against the paparazzi with more signs.

“Good morning! We were eating and saw a group of guys with cameras outside. And so we thought, let’s try this again. We don’t need the attention, but these wonderful organizations do,” read Stone’s sign, which then drew an arrow to Garfield’s note with a list of charities like Autism Speaks and Worldwide Orphans.

The whole exercise seems like an enlightened way to poke fun at celebrity culture while exploiting it at the same time. But do the organizations getting a shout-out actually see some benefit from the guerrilla publicity?

Kay Isaacson-Leibowitz, co-founder of the World of Children Award, said yes.

Actress Anne Hathaway and her then-fiance Adam Shulman at the 2011 Kennedy Center Honorees (Reuters/Mike Theiler) Actress Anne Hathaway and her then-fiance Adam Shulman at the 2011 Kennedy Center Honorees (Reuters/Mike Theiler)

“Young actors have a tremendous presence and a big voice,” explain Isaacson-Leibowitz. “This kind of thing is going to influence a lot of young people as well as help the charities. I hope it’s a trend.” She also described Hathaway and Shulman, who designed a commemorative necklace for the organization’s 2013 awards ceremony, as “squeaky clean” and “salt of the earth.”

We get the feeling that the organization wouldn’t be as excited about a placement on LaBeouf’s makeshift paper mask.

Ross Fraser, a spokesman for Feeding America, an organization that Hathaway supports, said the signs have had a quantifiable impact on awareness. Over the holiday weekend, nearly 87 percent of the charity’s Web traffic came from first-time visitors, Fraser said.

“It’s no accident that we had this huge uptick of people at the same time that Anne Hathaway did this promotion,” he said.

And where do the paparazzi, who are allegedly getting the short end of the stick, fit into all of this?

“It doesn’t hurt business at all,” said Washington-based celebrity photographer Mark Wilkins. “It may even help with some celebrities.”


Helena Andrews-Dyer is the co-author of The Reliable Source. Follow her on Twitter @helena_andrews, and send your hot tips, sightings, and gossip to



Success! Check your inbox for details. You might also like:

Please enter a valid email address

See all newsletters

Show Comments
Most Read



Success! Check your inbox for details.

See all newsletters

Your Three. Videos curated for you.
Play Videos
Sleep advice you won't find in baby books
In defense of dads
Scenes from Brazil's Carajás Railway
Play Videos
For good coffee, sniff, slurp and spit
How to keep your child safe in the water
How your online data can get hijacked
Play Videos
How to avoid harmful chemicals in school supplies
Full disclosure: 3 bedrooms, 2 baths, 1 ghoul
How much can one woman eat?
Play Videos
What you need to know about Legionnaires' disease
How to get organized for back to school
Pandas, from birth to milk to mom
Next Story
Helena Andrews-Dyer · July 8, 2014

To keep reading, please enter your email address.

You’ll also receive from The Washington Post:
  • A free 6-week digital subscription
  • Our daily newsletter in your inbox

Please enter a valid email address

I have read and agree to the Terms of Service and Privacy Policy.

Please indicate agreement.

Thank you.

Check your inbox. We’ve sent an email explaining how to set up an account and activate your free digital subscription.