Editors at The Associated Press and Getty Images said their photographers were not allowed to take shots of the Grammy Award-winning singer or of Bryant’s children, the New York Post reported. Thousands packed the Staples Center to honor Bryant and his 13-year-old daughter, Gianna, who were among nine people killed in a Jan. 26 helicopter crash in Calabasas, Calif.
Beyoncé opened the event to the former Los Angeles Lakers star and his daughter with a rendition of “XO” and “HALO.” The arena was packed with Laker fans, Bryant’s family and former teammates and fellow NBA players, among others.
“It is so offensive to Kobe’s family and the fans, Beyoncé is so controlling of her image — she usually only allows approved selected images of her to be released — so no photographers at the Kobe memorial were allowed to take her picture,” an unnamed event insider told the Post. “Really, at a memorial? Not even the family of Michael Jackson did that.
“A Staples Center staffer was dispatched to make sure not a single camera was focused on the stage,” the insider added. “The photographers couldn’t believe it. This doesn’t help Beyoncé’s image at all, it hurts her. It makes her look like a diva. The memorial wasn’t about her.”
The insider said the only photos captured of the singer were television screengrabs, and other music artists in attendance — Christina Aguilera and Alicia Keys — made no such requests.
Beyoncé has had a history of aiming to control images of her that get released to the public. In 2013, her publicist reportedly emailed BuzzFeed asking the outlet to remove several unflattering photos of her performance at the halftime show of Super Bowl XLVII.