An Unscripted Moment With Michelle Obama and the Secret Service

Why did the Secret Service try to keep Vocativ from filming the first lady out for a morning walk on a busy road?

Vocativ was on Martha’s Vineyard over the weekend to film a piece about the African-American community on the island. While we were shooting on Beach Road, one of the busiest thoroughfares on the Vineyard, the Secret Service approached and asked us to switch off our camera for 15 minutes.

Uploaded By: Vocativ

A moment later, first lady Michelle Obama power walked by our crew. She was out for some exercise with a small group—and a serious security detail. It was 9:30 in the morning.

Our producer and cameraman were surrounded by Secret Service agents and very strongly advised to stop filming. At one point, Mrs. Obama looked in their direction and said, “Don’t do that.” It’s unclear if she was telling the agents to leave us alone, or scolding us for filming on public property.

We wondered what the big deal was. The first lady is a fierce advocate for wellness and exercise. And there she was on her vacation—getting out and actually practicing what she preaches.

Vocativ isn’t part of the establishment press, and the closest we’ve ever been to the official “pool” of reporters who follow around the Obamas is the pool back at the hotel. So maybe we just never got the memo about the rules of engagement while POTUS and FLOTUS are on holiday.

It’s hardly controversial to say that the president and his family deserve some privacy—everyone does. But there is, of course, a heated debate around the administration’s relationship with the news media and its tightly scripted control of images, which The New York Times has called “Orwellian.”

Do the White House spin doctors have a right to exercise control over access to the first lady while she’s exercising? And on a public road, where we were working long before she came by on a power walk? Let us know what you think in the comments below, or on our Facebook page.

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  • Very informative article post.Really looking forward to read more. Fantastic. cfcdcfefkdek

  • I thought Vocativ would be an interesting place to get new takes on events and news. From what I have seen it is little more than tabloid, with a lot of people looking for another way to bash the president, the government, anyone who is trying to do something. They have no more ideas than their reps in congress. And the articles have been silly and unsubstantiated. Going elsewhere. Bye

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    • Really, Katyids? I hardly think that candidly saying the president, and his family, deserve some vacation time is “bashing” them. Maybe your definition of bashing is didferent from mine.Or maybe you have a very thin skin when it comes to your president, and any type of comment leveled at him, or his wife.  The Vocativ reporters were working on a PUBLIC street, which is not the domain of the president, and certainly not of his wife. Please try to remember no one elected Michelle Obama to anything. I understand your confusion, because the First Lady has acted as if she were chosen by the public to a very high office, given her multiple, multimillion dollar trips, including her friends, and family. Remember China, last summer ? The most polite, most humble and self-effacing people in the world, and they could not wait for Michelle, and her mother to leave their country? Yes, well, I digress. But, I could go on all night. Suffice it to say, that Michelle Obama can walk, just as you or I can, on any public road in America that we chose to walk upon. But, Michelle Obama, and the people who surround her, may NOT tell any other person on a public road to get off that road. Get it? It’s not their road to control. That’s not “bashing”. It’s just the truth. 

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      • Apologies that I got defensive. He is our president. The article made it very clear that the writer does not know whether she was talking to the photographer or the Secret Service.  I don’t disagree that on a public street she should be photographed. When the Prez hits the public street, he even allows himself to be photographed with people, so I doubt if it was her – unless there was something dodgy or pushy about the photographer. She is photographed in public places frequently, so I find it hard to believe she told him to stop. So what if she did or did not get along with China. I saw it differently. Do you realize that many trips they take, they pay for their personal expenses. And the costs have often been correct. Famously, Bachmann, with no knowledge whatsoever, threw a few million bucks onto the tab. Just cause. She knew certain people would believe it, regardless. Good will trips of all prez’s and first ladies are paid for by the public, that is part of their job. Generally, I’d say they’ve done pretty well.   Furthermore, every page I go to, there are criticisms of the POTUS and FLOTUS. Many are based on completely false information, some don’t make sense, and some sound like generally resentful people. There is no discussion, no conversation. They have their minds made up, and that is it. They don’t care if they can, with the smallest amount of effort, be proven incorrect, and often are. Some posters have admitted that they are paid to troll. As soon as many right-wingers join a discussion, the discussion is pretty much over. This one has to be also, I have more fun places to be. I do appreciate your response

  • A camera can conceal a weapon. The Secret Service inspects all cameras used to record the activities of protected persons. They usually take your camera, inspect it out of your view, and return it to you.

  • The ‘bamas forget there still is a segment of the population that remembers when freedom rang.

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    • Yes, and that bell rang the night PRESIDENT OBAMA was elected!

    • Yes, oh how we do remember and celebrate.  Just so happens that segment that celebrates is much larger than the one that does not.

  • How dare the press think they can have uncensored coverage of the Dear Leader or Evita?  Who do they think they are?

  • If she wants privacy stay the hell home

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    • Pray tell – why?  It gives really dumb people like you something to complain about. 

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  • you got that right !

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    • Ok Ms. Size ZERO!

  • “Absolute power corrupts absolutely”

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    • Ummm  – nah waste of time on this one.

  • She should wake up earlier if she wants some privacy.  Most people exercize before 7 AM to start their day.  Apparently she sleeps until 9-9:30 AM.

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    • Please notify the world when you become the First Lady of the United States. 

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      • A first lady is not royalty.  Most of the U.S., unless you are not working, is up by 6:30 AM.  If you forget, politicians work for us.  Their paycheck is from our tax dollars.  To shut down neighborhoods and cities so they can walk is in bad taste.  Has she heard of a treadmill?  Even the Royals in the UK are not this arrogant.

  • The secret service was grumpy, because they had to power walk along with her…

  • Stay inside if you want privacy or have a private moment. Public walk-ways in a busy area is not one of them. Personally, I am not a big fan of the FLOTUS fitness / eat-right indoctrine, nevertheless she keeps fits.

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    • Agree about the privacy expectation in public, but I think the FLOTUS fitness/eat-right public image doesn’t match with her personal/private reality/behavior.  She’s not that fit, relative to what she would have us believe/behave.

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      • Bob are you talking about fitness again.  Put down that dam ham sandwhich and give me 50 sit-ups right now.I am going to start calling you blubber.  LOL

  • Speaks volumes about the “secret service”. You wanna private moment? Then get the heck off a public road sidewalk.

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    • What really speaks volumes is that you were not there.  Mind your business.

  • Don’t give her the oxygen of publicity by filming her. Switch off your cameras voluntarily the moment she or her “Nobel Peace Prize winning” hubby come along. The world won’t miss anything!

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    • exactly

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      • Acutally, the world would miss her but not you dear friend!

  • Did her image break the camera?

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    • Her image broke the camera.  Get a better name then you can talk. 

  • What an ugly woman.  Inside and out.

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    • I am sure you look like Ms. America.   LOL  

  • The Democratic Party has become, quite sadly, the official Party of tyranny….

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    • Tyranny.  Intersting!  I think tyranny is what I call the Government Shutdown last October when Federal Govermnment Contractors were out of work for almost a month with no pay because of some ididot Republican.  Do everybody a favor and jump into a 6ft hole and don’t come back up.

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      • Tyranny is also when a group of people have decided that they will refuse to accomplish anything at all for anybody (except of course their funders), and when they expect to be paid for it. When they demand all or nothing, when they only have insults and no ideas. When they think that Americans they don’t like shouldn’t have rights (to vote, to marry, to immigrate, go to school. Tyranny is when your members of your party are afraid to be honest, to get work done, to have their own opinions, to negotiate because one of their own won’t like it. If you actually hear something thoughtful and honest from these folks, spread the word. Most of us would have missed it.      Women have been hearing comments from men about our bodies for centuries. I think we’ve figured out that, really, they are ashamed of their own,

  • Quack quack, waddle waddle, quack quack quack.  You may be in luck if you think it’s a duck..

  • Obama doesn’t even respect Congress or the Senate and his wife Michelle and her mother took China by storm and the Chinese couldn’t wait for them to leave their country. The Presidential mother-in-law was such an absolute pain in their neck and the that the staff began to hate her. Not because she was black but because she is an insufferably behaved human being. The Chinese do not ever want her back – imagine what a pill she must have been while there!

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    • Now everybody knows that you read the gossip magazines.  LOL.  You have graduated to pre-school.  Gullible – is a kind word for you.

  • Absolutely no Obama lover me, and Michlle maybe less…however, just because they are public people on a publicroad does not do away with courtesy and respect for others.I gotta side with Michelle, no matter how much it hurts.

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    • It’s a public road… do the media stop filming when Jane Doe goes for a jog? No, so why should the Obama’s or any other celebrity expect any different. It’s not like they were lying in wait for her. It was just coincidence and as such she was just part of the scenery just like any other Jane, Janet or John.

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      • The article said they don’t know whether Michelle was talking to the Secret Service, who’s job it is to protect her at all times, or the photographers. My guess is, considering how much time she spends with regular people in public places, that she was talking to the Secret Service.

  • Bert, you look just like a pervert that just got arrested.  Bert is that you the pervert that just got arrested.  Bert is that really you?   Wow, your bail must have been set low for you to get out so quickly.You need to stop using your camera to look up ladies dresses – so not nice Bert. Not nice – no Bert not nice. 

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    • Right – go ahead and hide Bert. Good thing you took your post down before somebody turned you in.

  • Stop it - you were holding on to everyb glimpse.  Breaking your neck trying to look.  Don’t you have better things to do.  Guess not  – dumb people usually don’t.

  • Mr. 2-incher you wish you had one.  

  • Really, come on you second grader – get a life!!!

  • Michelle represents what real women look like.   Keep reding magazines and googling over fake hair, fake lips, fake breats, fake chins, and throw in a nose.   Leave her alone you fake wimps.  You are probably sitting there with a pop belly and can barely bend down to tie your shoes! 

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    • Who is attacking her? That’s not what this is about. Calm down. 

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      • Actually, that has been what it has been about for many posters – any chance to bash Obama or his wife. And s/he is not the one who is going off.

  • ever notice that the Obamas only hang around black people? don’t they think white people have value?

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    • Ummm – The Presidents Mother was a white female. 

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      • “I ceased to advertise my mother’s race at the age of 12 or 13, when I began to suspect that by doing so I was ingratiating myself to whites.”Barack Hussein Obama, 

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      • I read the book too silly.   Typical – if you want to tell the story – tell the whole story.  Lunatic!

  • If she wants a private moment,  let her STAY ON PRIVATE PROPERTY.

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    • Goddess – what a genius idea.  Why didn’t the Secret Service think about that brillant idea.  You are so smart – perhaps you should apply to the Secret Service.  Certainly a must do!!!

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      • work for the Obama’s, not even when hell freezes over.

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      • Thank goodness hell will never freeze!

  • That is cruel. None if us have perfect figutes.  Are we so low niw that we are knicking women fir their appearance.  That is cruel.    I get it that you are done wurh them.  I for one was never for them. Also recall the fairy tale emperor with no clothes. 

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    • No one would have much to say about Michelle’s bigger attributes, if she hadn’t gone hog wild (excuse the pun, couldn’t resist) on the whole school lunch agenda. Most people believe that it is their right to eat what they choose, and to feed their children what they want them to have. If Michelle hadn’t appointed herself the “healthy food” authority, and forced her agenda down the throats of America’s kids, no one would care that she doesn’t seem to practice what she preaches. Get it? She and her hubs both really get off on telling the American people how they should live, what they should sacrifice, and  do without (remember, “we all should be willing to sacrifice that vacation, turn off our air conditioners etc?) but they exempt themselves from any and all restrictions, and live like royalty. The hypocrisy is what invites the criticism. 

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      • Unscripted ? You have a professional film camera and crew and a script to shoot covering the local communiuty. So why are you filming the first lady instead of getting on with your written script? Unless you hoped to catch a few shots…..

  • Is that a nose pick?

  • There is no expectation of privacy in a public location. Film away.

  • she is a queenand you be the peasant

  • You’re right are null and void in the presence of her majesty. 

  • If she wants a private moment walk up island not in Oaks Bluff on a Sat. 

  • You peons need to learn your places.

    • Do the White House spin doctors have a right to exercise control over access to the first lady while she’s exercising? And on a public road, where we were working long before she came by on a power walk? – The fact that you are even ASKING that question is a sad statement on the regime’s erosion of our inalienable rights.
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    • Is your name really Vasco de Gama, or do you just envy his ability to use his power to disrupt several countries, take away their rights, and kill people. You need to get your news from real sources who vet their their information. You are being brainwashed by the places you are currently visiting.

  • People are due the respect they’ve earned. You don’t earn respect by being a bully, or a sh*thead. Sorry, guys. That’s the way ot is, no Exutive Order can change it. You’ve *EARNED* every bit of derision you get. Deal with it. Use your pen and phone, maybe?

  • Police state. Why is one woman covering her face?

  • There is a reason that in modern times we refer to them as “Public Officials” instead of the old fashion out of date reference of “Public Servants”!!!

  • Is your camera equipment okay after its exposure to Michellel?

  • Wow, I can certainly understand why she and Val want/need privacy!However, she should just stay inside her multimillion dollar estate if she wants privacy, not out on a public highway disrupting the lives of her subjects.

  • Not an Obama fan in the least. I would guess that she was telling the secret service to leave them alone. It’s good for her image to be seen walking. It would be even better for her image to talk her husband into retirement.

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    • Haha! Laughing out loud. You’re funny…and you’re right ! 

  • All these politicos are like this. They are the new royalty. Whether Rep or Dem, they strut about with their armed knights or drive about in their bullet proof carriages, pushing us serfs about, showing us our proper place. I remember getting stuck in a horrifying gridlock because Prez Bush was reportedly travelling on the freeway. Come to find out, he took the helicopter and the limos (there were like three) all turned out to be decoys. He snaggled half a million peope on their way home from work, needlessly, and didn’t even apologise.

  • Wow. So many issues. First, if I wanted privacy, I would go to a private gym to work out, not walk on a public road. Second, why should she be afforded so much right to privacy while the rest of us are being spied on by the government and efforts are being made to further that breach daily. I mean, isn’t what I pack in my kids’ lunch boxes my private business? Third, did they even know it was her before the secret service made such a fuss? She just looks like another fat old lady trying to get her power walk on to me …

  • How dare you approach the Queen!

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    • She thinks a lot more of herself than the rest of us do, apparently

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      • Yup…

  • Because diets are for the little people and the growing kids in suburban schools who are now relagated to eating cardboard.  

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    • Stand your ground, and keep filming.

    • I am all for the suburban kids (you know who I am talking about) to continue eating pizza, fries, sugar and salt laden foods.  I say pile on the cheeseburgers, fried chicken nuggest, chocolate milk, soda, and all the cakes, cookies, and ice cream they can eat.  We will take the cardboard and at least 30 minutes of exercise a day.  Thank You Very Much Sara B.  Come on – tell the truth – you are proud of your fat obese kids. Grandkids?  Maybe you are the Honey Boo Boo obese.  LOL

  • “She practices what she preaches.”Ha! Ha! Ha! You are joking, right? “Michelle Obama has made it her cause to tackle childhood obesity with her two failed signature programs ‘Let’s Move’ and her healthy lunch school program. Although constantly pushing for healthy eating, both of the Obamas came come under fire in the past for failure to lead in this area by example. On Tuesday night, Barack and Michelle Obama will host French President Francois Hollande at a State Dinner. The dinner menu has been released and the calorie content is greater than the daily allowance recommended by the U.S. government! At 2,500 calories, this State Dinner boasts nearly 1,000 calories more than a Burger King Whopper combo meal.”http://www.tpnn.com/2014/02/11/hypocrisy-update-obamas-state-dinner-more-than-2500-calories/

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    • Actually, Kent the French insisted on a low calorie, low fat menu because there was no way the Americans could actually pull off a five-star meal.  Really, the greatest country in the world should have served a half grapefuit, salad and one grape.  No, we had to show off our culinary skills and serve a dinner fitting for a visiting head of state.  Why?Can you imagine a dinner served on real China.  Why? Can you imagine some of the top chef’s in America taking time to showcase their talent and food.  Why?  Can you imagine that a dinner guest would have to eat everything placed on their plate and therby ingesting all those calories.  Why?Just asking, how many State Dinners have you been to?   Two, three, four?  Probably zilch.  Get real Kent and hear this — very few people are invited to a State Dinner and they do not care about the calories!  They would lick their plates like if they could because the food is so good.  So now, lick your but like the dumb dog you are for your dumb totally out of context comments.

  • too funny.. now the video is taken down. Who wants to see her walk anyway? ugh

  • They have no right to “strongly suggest” that you stop filming on a public road, and I would have educated them on that.

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    • But what about a private? Don’t you respect a private for your betters?

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  • H.R. 347; thats why; and you overwlemingly supported it 2 years ago; how selective your memory has become.   

  • His physical appearance might give up a secret or two.

  • I love how the agents are wearing khaki shorts and polo shorts yet Jarrett and The Mooch are wearing sports gear, like what they are doing requires it. 

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    • Mike has something to hide from publuc view.

  • liberals must control the lie for fear the truth will come out.

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    • In this case, “literally”.

  • “Come on, really? Really? Come on…”That is so backward and ridiculous! They are on a major public road! How could that be a private moment?! I wonder how MO will spiral after she is no longer queen in chief.

  • What’s silly about this is the secret service made an issue out of nothing. FLOTUS power walking with Valerie Jarret isn’t really news, other than some positive vibes that Mrs. Obama is practicing what she preaches. The secret service stopping the filming makes the whole event far more newsworthy.

  • “She’s trying to have a private…”Only royalty would have the expectation of “private” in a public space.

  • “or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press.”  What part of that do these morons in the white house and secret service not understand.

  • “African American community on Martha’s Vinyard”Worlds’ shortest puff piece.

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    • Let them eat; “whatever”. Cake wouldn’t work for Queen Michelle.

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      • More of a queen, than you can imagine!

  • As long as she is living in the people’s house living off the American tax payer she needs to suck it up buttercup!

  • Moochy – she may be unscripted, but there’s no hiding those thunder thighs and that back yard she totes around with her.

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    • Or him…..

  • The rights of the people over the government flip-floped at some point. Our fascist dictators demand that our right be suspended if they don’t like it.

  • It is simply a matter of perception.  You were not recognized as a member of the slobbering lapdog media politicians prefer to deal with.  What does the bill of rights matter when the Cloward-Piven strategy remains to be implemented.  Now if you were on the dole and not yet registered to vote or a union member that just got an Obamacare waiver and wanted thank Mrs O, that may have resulted in a different response.

  • Right after the walk, Michelle issued a mandate forbidding children to enjoy cupcakes at school, then settled down to a nice $400 lobster lunch.

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    • Fact Check – the word is, was and will always be moderation.   So if your kid is big, fat, and un-healthy sitting home on Prom might – wonder why. 

  • Hahaha!!  You morons still think we have a free press.  Welcome to the world of Obama’s creation, where the press are DOJ targets and they toe the line or face the consequences.  

  • She’s not an elected official, so I have no problem with this.

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    • Then tell her/him to get out of our childrens lunchbox!

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      • Mr. Clausen, when you stop sitting on the couch eating that big bag of chips and stuffing your face with dunkin doughnuts, then maybe just maybe…..Nevermind – you are the type that will take medication instead of watching your diet.  Just do everyone a favor – keep sitting on the couch watching Fox news. While you are at it – do us another tremedous favor and keep eating a ton of fat, sugar,and salt. 

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      • For someone who has posted more replies on this thread than anyone, I hardly think you have much room to tell someone to get up off their couch and do something. 

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      • +
      • Glad you noticed. 

  • No one cares what Marie Antoinette and her minions do. 

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    • You are so right John Walsh and so are so many of the other comments.  The way she looks I wouldn’t want to be filmned either… she needs to do more than POWER WALK….

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      • Sandra Manzi is that you in that picture.  You look smashing dear.  LOL  LOL  LOL

  • She has absolutely no right to privacy…she is outsid in a public place.

  • You silly slave. Put your camera down and grab your ankles when the queen comes near you. The problem is you still think this is a free country where you have rights and stuff.

  • I can see you went to school!

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  • It’s about time they taught that.

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  • No, its about time to went to pre-school!

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  • I think it’s past your bedtime.night night

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