Fotog Quits Over Treatment Of Britney

A photographer who quit a celebrity agency over the treatment by paparazzi of Britney Spears during her ongoing struggles with personal troubles says he's afraid the pursuit of the pop star would lead to her death.

"Personally," Nick Stern told co-anchor Maggie Rodriguez on The Early Show Monday, "I could foresee the death of Britney Spears either directly or indirectly."

Stern, who resigned from the agency Splash, says he was particularly upset by a scene that unfolded at a drug store the paparazzi had followed Spears to."


Photos: Standoff At Britney's
" (Some paparazzi) were walking backwards in order to photograph her," he says. "There was a homeless woman who was watching the spectacle who got knocked to the ground. Nobody paid any attention to her. She was just left there.

"Some of the driving techniques are pretty scary, as well and, in my opinion, represent a danger to Britney Spears and other members of the public."

Stern says he's received "an amazing amount of support" from fellow photographers and others "either by text message, phone calls or e-mails," but he wasn't trying to set an example and he's not urging anyone to leave the Britney beat, as he did.

"We're not saying here, 'Stop all press photography,' he noted. "Most journalism and most news reporting is justified and legitimate. All I'm saying it's a personal (stand) that I took concerning the pursuit of Britney Spears, that's all. It's just a personal decision I made.

"I resigned from Splash, and they respected my opinion. They're a highly professional organization with a great reputation. That's a personal message that I made."

Still, Stern told CBS News, "this is a multi-million dollar industry, and I am afraid of retaliations."

He asked to appear on The Early Show in silhouette only to, he says, avoid jeopardizing his safety during continuing undercover assignments. They include work on a documentary for Britain's Sky News about Britney's relationship with the media in general and paparazzi in particular -- and the money chain from the mobs around her to newsstands.

"The media surrounding her is now the story," Stern asserts.

Stern says he's had trouble finding work in the United States since he quit Splash.