"You cannot hope to bribe or twist,
Thank God, the British journalist.
But seeing what the man will do,
Unbribed, there's no occasion to."This is a staple of pretty much any work of fiction dealing with celebrities - especially those aiming to show Celebrity Is Overrated - the characters will inevitably have to deal with paparazzi who are looking for a story to sell at some point, no matter how it affects the lives of the story's subjects, or what laws the paparazzi break in the process of getting the story. This can be considered the Jerkass flipside or Evil Counterpart to the Intrepid Reporter. Rich source of Paranoia Fuel. The paparazzi are Acceptable Targets and may well be victims of a Take That!. Typically they are working for a Strawman News Media outlet. "Papped" has become a verb for being photographed by these people. Compare Tabloid Melodrama, which often overlaps, and Groupie Brigade when the invasion comes from fans. Also compare Media Scrum.
— Humbert Wolfe
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Anime and Manga
- In Full Moon o Sagashite, Mitsuki has to evade a reporter who could expose her secret.
- The main characters in the Boys Love series Haru wo Daiteita are both television and movie actors who constantly weather the Tabloid Melodrama, and are chased by "freelance journalist" Urushizake on his motor scooter.
- Hajime Shibata's ex boss Inagaki in Hell Girl was a paparazzo. He ends up sent to Hell by one of his victims, a young man whom he framed alongside his Disappeared Dad.
- In Nana, Nana and Ren's relationship is exposed, leading to a media frenzy. Yasu's Crowning Moment of Awesome comes when he decks one of them.
- In Digimon Savers, Yoshino gets pursued down the street when she's linked with a pop singer.
- Blassreiter likes to portray all news media as swarming, sensationalist vultures whenever the Demoniacs (especially Gerd) is involved. It gets to the point where it seems like the XAT's job is half dealing with the Demoniacs and half dealing with the seemingly omnipresent news choppers and vans.
- The iDOLM@STER - A Paparazzi is hired by Kuroi to dig up dirt on the 765PRO Idols.
- In Detective Conan, a really annoying paparazzo named Hirokazu Kajiya shows up when Ran, Sonoko, Conan, and Subaru show up to a concert hall to meet up with a popular singer. Then, the singer appears dead... But the paparazzo isn't the killer: the singer has been Driven to Suicide for a totally unrelated reason.
- Hyraxx De Mofiti from Buck Godot probably counts. She's a tabloid journalist that at first keeps chasing after Buck in order to find answers for such questions as what colour of clothes does the resident Sufficiently Advanced Alien wears and whther or not the space station is haunted by Elvis. Later on she ends up helping Buck by digging up some information he needs, tho.
- Peter Parker. Yes, he has been this. In his first meeting with Doctor Octopus he catches the man holding some hospital staff hostage. All fine and well...but the only reason Peter was at that hospital in the first place was that the police and the hospital had refused to let the press in to take photos of Octopus, who at the time was little more than the victim of a horrible lab accident. In other words, Peter broke into a hospital to secretly take pictures of an injured man. He's totally nonchalant about it too and made a remark along the lines of "I've never heard of a hospital keeping people out" with regards to his plan to sneak in.
- He once had to deal with a rather vile and self-admitted paparazzi (and the biggest slimeball you'd ever meet) named Nick Katzenburg, a Fat Slob with absolutely no morals, who gained a high position at the Daily Bugle because J. Jonah Jameson had been replaced by the Chameleon, making the Bugle's attacks against Spider-Man into outright slander. When the real Jonah returned, Nick's claws were clipped a little, due to Jonah having some morals as a newsman, and then severely grounded when Thomas Fireheart became the owner in a hostile takeover, turning the Bugle's coverage towards him positive in order to repay a debt he felt he owed (which, sadly, was just as biased, only in reverse). Nick's slanderous ways finally came to a head when he took incriminating pictures of the Rose and published them with Peter Parker's name to protect himself; once the truth came out, he was the target of both the underworld and the police, and an attempt on his life led to a heart attack and his eventual death from lung cancer.
- The world of Plutona treats superheroes like celebrities, with photographers, journalists, and amateur capespotters stalking their every move. Ray's plan on discovering Plutona is to take photos and sell them to the media.
- The word "paparazzi" comes from the character Paparazzo in Federico Fellini's film La Dolce Vita.
- It literally means "mosquito", which is rather apt...
- TV reporter Richard Thornburg in Die Hard and Die Hard 2, whose actions cause much grief for the McClane family. You'd think he'd have learned his lesson after interfering with the Ghostbusters
- A Hard Day's Night deals with this during the press conference scene. At one point, a photographer fills a reel of film with George Harrison making faces into the camera.
- The main character of The Naked Truth.
- In preparation for starring in and directing Interview, Steve Buscemi spent some time disguised as a paparazzi photographer.
- He also played a paparazzi photographer in Delirious (2006).
- The film Spice World includes a paparazzo that stalks the Spice Girls, trying to get some story out of them. He apparently has superpowers that include being able to travel through the plumbing and emerge out of a toilet. However, he still fails to get anything until near the end, where he gets pictures of the Spice Girls' friend after childbirth, prompting the girls to chase him down. Once they catch him, he becomes a whimpering moron (something they actually comment on).
- Freddy Lounds in Red Dragon. He gets his.
- The rare paparazzi hero: Leon Bernstein (played by Joe Pesci) in The Public Eye. Based on the real life photog Weegee.
- In That Old Feeling, Bette Midler plays a movie star who is frequently chased by a certain paparazzo.
- The film Paparazzi is about an actor whose life is almost destroyed by evil paps who cause a car accident that land the actor's nine-year-old son in the hospital in intensive care, break into his home, harass and terrify the rest of his family, etc. He then spends the rest of the movie murdering all the paparazzi that wronged him.
- And You Thought Your Parents Were Weird!: After reporter Alice hears about Josh and Max's secret robot, she pursues the story to the point of breaking and entering and airing footage obtained from shooting through house windows.
- In Batman Begins photographers are seen trying to get around a wall of cops so they can get a picture of young Bruce Wayne alone in the police station after his parents were murdered.
- In Five Star Final, all the reporters at the Gazette, a sleazy tabloid that is digging up an old murder scandal and ruining the lives of Nancy Townsend and her husband Walter. Isopod dresses as a minister in order to gain entrance into the Townsend home and trick them into an interview. Kitty and her photographer climb through a window, and when they find the bodies of the driven-to-suicide Townsends, Kitty tells the photographer to get pictures.
- Played with in the made for TV movie, "The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas." A self-proclaimed televangelist targets the titular whorehouse that has been in the town for generations and presumably not broken any laws or caused any problems, according the the sheriff, played by Burt Reynolds. Said televangelist eventually takes a film crew there in the middle of the night, breaks a padlock on the fence marking the boundary to the property and then has his cameraman turn on the camera, once the gate is open, to make it look like he's invited. He then proceeds to take his film crew storming through the small mansion, rousing numerous prostitutes and clients, making all their faces public to shame them, and rake in the ratings. The sheriff retaliates by visiting his studio, and then, just out of camera frame, ripping off the televangilist's wig, and decking him right into the camera shot of the singing choir and then calmly walking over his prone form, making it look like he just arrived on the scene before leaving.
- Rita Skeeter from Harry Potter. Though technically she's not a photographer herself, the rest of her characterization fits and she generally strings one (named "Bozo") along with her.
- Paparazzi, obviously.
- In The Truth William De Worde and his flock are intrepid reporters. In the other books they are often portrayed as this to the main characters.
- James Herbert's novel Creed is about a paparazzo stumbling upon a satanic cult.
- Nearly all the media in Rewind (Terry England) is portrayed like this, as they obsess over the seventeen Rewound children to the point of being Strawmen Newcrews. Starts with ABC and NBC reporters cussing each other out while fighting for a good position to film from, and just goes downhill from there.
- Hallis Saper, a documentarian in Starfighters of Adumar, is mentioned to have gotten her start in "sludgenews", Star Wars' equivalent. It did teach her some valuable lessons.
- In Death: Just about every reporter, except for Nadine Furst, is this.
- Carl Hiaasen's Star Island has celebrity/paparazzi interaction, with a pop-star celebrity (and her double) and one obsessed paparazzo as the main plot.
- The Honor Harrington series features paparazzi in a few novels. They're the only foe Honor is afraid to face. If the paparazzi are after her, she usually just stays aboard her ship.
- In War of Honor, her political enemies use the paparazzi to suggest that Honor is having an affair with Admiral White Haven, who is married (and to one of the nation's most beloved celebrities, no less). She isn't, but she and White Haven are in love by that point. After Honor and White Haven do initiate an affair in the next novel, At All Costs, and Honor gets pregnant, the paparazzi find out. In one scene, some suggest alternate candidates for the father of Honor's son, including White Haven's brother (the current Prime Minister) and Protector Benjamin Mayhew of Grayson (who is easily the least likely person in the entire Honorverse to ever have an extramarital affair).
- Averted for the Graysons. While Grayson has freedom of the press, their conservative culture just wouldn't tolerate that sort of intrusion into someone's private affairs.
- Digger Downs in Wild Cards. He works for the Aces magazine, which is a tabloid exposing the private life of people with superpowers. He is a really unpleasant guy which will do everything to write a paper, but he is more a nuisance than a really evil person. He sometimes even does real journalism.
- In Feed, Georgia mentions having done some time among paparazzi groups when she and Shaun needed the extra income. She points out that in her world, this was also professionally useful to her by accustoming her to being in large groups of people, which is something most people in her post-Zombie Apocalypse world simply don't do but that a working reporter needs to be able to cope with.
- Through Alien Eyes has the first alien representatives coming to Earth, so naturally the media is quite interested. Ukatonen is deeply offended when he's interrupted in a garden he uses to relax after a hard day.
- The entitled Wendell Green of Black House spends much of his time undermining police efforts to catch The Fisherman in order to get shots of the murder victims. Perhaps his lowest moment comes when he attempts to re-incite a defused lynch mob so he can report on the innocent man they were about to hang.
- Adam-12: The episode "Good Cop: Handle With Care" (from early in the series' second year) had a pair of rogue journalists — one armed with a camera, their car outfitted with a police radio) — targeting cops to fish for a police brutality story; eventually, officers Reed and Malloy become their marks. Throughout the course of the episode, the "journalists" use many of the tactics associated with the paparazzi as they harass the officers as they respond to a dead body call and deliver a death message to a woman. The main incident sees the pair take incriminating pictures of the officers as they deal with a stoned suspect; while taking him in for booking, the suspect began shaking uncontrollably and hit his nose against the seat frame of the car while Reed was trying to control him – the "reporter" half of the duo makes it out to be a case of police brutality. In the end, the journalists show up as Reed and Malloy are trying to take three bank robbery suspects into custody; Malloy tells them to leave, but they insist on staying and — claiming they had not been read their rights, and that they had been arrested at random — provoke one of the criminals into shooting an innocent bystander (who later dies). The journalists are deeply remorseful as Malloy tells them, "Now you know (they really were robbers)."
- An episode of You're Under Arrest! featured a celebrity who was driving dangerously, due to the paparazzi chasing him.
- Which, when you think about it, might be a callback to the accusations that paparazzi were responsible for the crash of Princess Diana's car, due to them pursuing the car she was in, which went to unsafe speeds to get away from them and caused said crash.
- An episode of Law & Order had the victim of the week get chased into oncoming traffic by a paparazzo who wanted her opinion on her husband's affair. Once he was found to not be complicit in her death, he got shot; when his death is announced at a restaurant frequented by the rich and powerful, everyone applauds.
- In a not-for-profit example, an obnoxious activist on Law & Order: Special Victims Unit who'd been following the ADA, haranguing her with questions about political corruption and snapping photos for his scandalmonger blog, managed to severely intimidate a rape victim whom his target was meeting with. Fearful of more of the same harassment, the poor girl nearly didn't testify against her attacker.
- The mockumentary Being Michael Madsen is basically Michael Madsen vs. the papparazzi, who are trying to implicate him in the disappearance of a young actress. Of course we don't really blame the papparazzi because Madsen is Adam Westing in the vein of every psycho he's ever played.
- Reporter Kim hounds the Boy Band A.N.JELL looking for a scoop in the Korean Series You Are Beautiful and actually starts to catch on to Minam's situation because of how nosey he is.
- Paparazzi are one of Bill O'Reilly 's major targets. Which is made doubly hilarious because he is a huge fan of ambush interviews and made his name working for Inside Edition, a Live Action Tabloid. The Daily Show played a clip where he transitioned from an ambush interview on a bus to an exasperated condemnation of Paparazzi without pausing.
- The third series of Primeval features a journalist who chases the protagonists around, trying to get proof of their work and expose it to the public. He and his boss are crushed underfoot by a Giganotosaurus while trying to film it.
"Don't you just hate the Paparazzi?" *click* [sighs and shakes head]
- Not to mention the Series Two special Through the Anomaly...
- An annoying guy who seems determined to annoy the protagonist is a recurring character in Hannah Montana, once following her home to find out where she lived. It gets worse when Miley is forced to pretend that her brother is her boyfriend.
- In the episode "Ships in the Night" of NCIS, the team is trying to track down the Paparazzi to see if they can confirm the alibi of a suspect. Leading to the following conversation:
Gibbs: DiNozzo!Tony: Checking into the paparazzi, boss.Ziva: For being everywhere, they're surprisingly difficult to track down.Agent Borin: Kind of like termites or roaches.
- Freddie Lounds of Hannibal, with a side order of Manipulative Bitch (yes, gender-flipped from the book/film version of the character), plus zero remorse for any harm she does.
- A significant antagonising force in The Thick of It. For instance, one manages to get a photo of a sheet on which the Opposition were brainstorming policy names, resulting in the dreadful end product of a Wiki Walk ("quiet Bat-people") being broadcasted out of context across all of the papers. Another one corners Nicola attempting to get a shot of her next to a protester in a pork chop costume. Another one gets a shot of two Coalition politicians standing on children's play equipment at a party conference, attempting to get signals on their phones, but instead looking like they're playing like kids on the day a significant disaster happened. These all happen in one season.
- A gutter press photographer who is stalking a female tennis star plays a major role, and becomes a suspect for murder, in the Miss Fisher's Murder Mysteries episode "Game, Set and Murder". It is later revealed that he is being paid by her major rival to harass her and throw her off her game.
- IWA Puerto Rico tag team partners, as well as the men tasked with interviewing the other wrestlers, Stephano and Paparazzi. Stephy continued the wrestler/reporter role in the World Wrestling League after IWA PR shutdown.
- The former TNA tag team Paparazzi Productions, consisting of Alex Shelley, Johnny Devine, a cheap digital camcorder and a complete lack of shame.
- MNM in WWE had their own personal paparazzi who would snap photos of them as they walked to the ring and sometimes stick around to take pictures of their matches as well. This was dropped for Joey Mercury while he was fired and Melina once she turned Face, while Johnny Nitro stopped it shortly after becoming John Morrison. Well, Melina really dropped it once Rosa Mendes infiltrated them.
- The music video for Michael Jackson's "Leave Me Alone" (the song itself isn't actually about the media). Other songs reflecting on or inspired by his relationship with the media include "Scream", "D.S.", and "Stranger in Moscow" (HIStory), "Privacy" (Invincible), and "Breaking News" (Michael, the posthumously assembled album).
- Britney Spears - "Piece of Me"
- Brooke Hogan - "About Us"
- Xzibit laments "sellout rappers" encouraging media attention and scrutiny in his 1996 breakout song "Paparazzi".
- Lady Gaga's "Paparazzi" has some picture-taking lyrics ("Got my flash on it's true, need that picture of you"), but is more about stalking fans.
- Lindsay Lohan - "Rumors"
- Don Henley's "Dirty Laundry" predates popular use of the term, but is a screaming Take That! to the callous, superficial, and sensationalistic hack journalism that keeps paparazzi in business.
- "Weird Al" Yankovic's "TMZ" starts out as a song about how paparazzi harass celebrities, then halfway through changes to pointing out that a number of things that celebrities do in view of the press are really stupid.
- Jay Chou's "Besieged From All Sides" note is a thinly-veiled Take That! on the paparazzi, who are portrayed as dogs in the song.
- The KISS band members in the Unmasked cover comic get harassed by a single photographer who wants to see them without their masks on — which at the time was part of the band's mystique. His efforts get foiled time and again, until he forces them to do so in concert. Of course, The Reveal turned out to be rather comical!
- Adam Ant's "Goody Two Shoes" was an expression of annoyance towards privacy-invading journalists.
- Delta Goodrem's "Electric Storm" is about holding a relationship in light of it.
But when it's hard to breathe, when I just can't get off the floorI long for days when I was free, a life I lived so long before
- Also implied in the lyrics for "Heavy":
- Before landing his Instant Book Deal, Michael of For Better or for Worse wrote for a newspaper. What catapults him into this trope is his reaction upon witnessing a car accident: while his friend Weed wanted to try and help, Michael saw this as a chance to further his career with an 'exclusive story' and started snapping photos. Being a self-centered Patterson, he saw nothing wrong with this. Even finding out his childhood friend Deanna had been in the wreck only caused him a brief shock at learning "bad things don't just happen to strangers"... before insisting that the accident must have been "fate" bringing them back together.
- Aya Shameimaru, the tengu Intrepid Reporter and Hot Scoop of the Touhou setting is often portrayed in Fanon as a Paparazza. It seems to extend to canon in Double Spoiler, where Reimu reveals she's developed several spellcards specifically to counter the camera.
- In the Mass Effect series, you get cornered by a reporter named Khalisah Bint Sinan al-Jilani in all three games. In the first one, she asks you about your mission, but soon tries to make you look bad. You can punch her out, or make her look like "a babbling idiot" (Admiral Hackett's words) when the report airs. In the second game, she attacks your decisions at the end of the first game, no matter what they were. You can punch her out again, but if you didn't the first time, Shepard says, "I should have done that the first time we met!"
Khalisah: Check vid. We get it? Great. Bullrushed on my own show.
- After her experiences with "real ghosts" at Kurain Temple in Ace Attorney, Lotta Hart switches to celebrity photography.
- Paparazzi are common enemies in the second stage of the Scott Pilgrim game. They are as annoying as their real life counterparts due to the jerks' ability to stun lock you, allowing other mooks to gang upon you.
- In Alan Wake, the titular character once punched a paparazzo.
- In The Sims 3, if your Sim becomes a high-level celebrity, paparazzi will flock to his or her house. In some cases, they can actually enter the houses without being invited if you don't sufficiently protect the door, and evicting them requires cheats; otherwise, they'll only leave when they're good and ready to (only to return later).
- The first BioShock game features a minor character simply called Paparazzi (technically grammatically incorrect, since there's only one of him). His one Audio Diary can be found next to what is presumably his body, next to a camera pointed at Frank Fontaine's window. There's not much information on who he was or how he died, but considering who he was spying on...
- In Data Age's Journey Escape for the Atari 2600, photographers that resemble flashing cameras must be avoided at all costs, as running into them causes you to lose cash.
- Since Scandal in the Spotlight centers around the insanely popular Boy Band Revance, paparazzi are an inevitable concern. The guys are pretty well accustomed to dealing with the media and managing their PR, so the protagonist ends up worrying about being caught by paparazzi more than any of her prospective boyfriends do, but there are a few incidents which prove that her worries are not entirely unfounded.
- Whateley Universe: Peeper, one of the students at Whateley Academy, is trying to become one. While he styles himself as an attack journalist for a legitimate (if school-run) radio show, he is in actuality a coward and a weapons-grade pervert who harasses every one of the (many) superhumanly attractive female students, then flees when they threaten him, leaving his Beleaguered Assistant Greasy to to the fall for him. The revelation that his super-power is X-Ray Vision didn't help his reputation any.
- In the Hat Films series Hat Pack, Colin the journalist is described as working for a "shitty tabloid" and pursuing useless stories.
- Futurama: Bender was once given the opportunity to do this. He had his reservations until learning that not only did he not need to pay, he would be paid.
- After Fluttershy of My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic became a famous model in "Green Isn't Your Color", these started hounding her wherever she went.
- Aaahh!!! Real Monsters: A paparazzo named Exposa once 'flashed' Ickis, snapping his picture and attempting to reveal the existence of monsters with a front-page headline.
- The Simpsons: Homer Simpson briefly took this gig, and takes photos of Springfield's celebrities at their worst. The celebrities fought back and hired another paparazzo to take embarrassing pictures of Homer. Homer retaliates by taking more picture of them all in a night club doing some more celebrity excesses, but he will not publish the photos if the celebrities would do some generous acts for a change.
- Batman Beyond: In "Sneak Peek", gossip-show host Ian Peek obtains a device that lets him walk through walls, and uses it to root out and broadcast celebrity secrets. He goes so far as to expose a police witness against organized crime, and would have exposed Bruce and Terry if his Power Incontinence hadn't done him in.
- The pioneer of the method was Ron Galella, who had a rough deal: Marlon Brando broke his jaw and knocked out four of his teeth, Brigitte Bardot enlisted some friends to soak him with a hose, and Richard Burton's bodyguards beat him up and had him tossed in a Mexican jail.
- The paparazzi were involved in the deaths of Princess Diana and her then-boyfriend Dodi Al-Fayed, being a factor in the occurrence of the fatal crash — according to the official inquest, anyway.
- It deserves noting that, at least in the US, there are no prerequisites (such as background checks or training) to becoming a member of the paparazzi. All you need is a camera and connections to sell the photos - and the fewer qualms you have about doing borderline illegal/immoral actions to get said shots, the more profitable your career becomes.
- Marilyn Manson's interactions with them tend to be varied (ranging from deer-in-headlights terror in reaction to a nymphomaniac independent one suggesting he should piss in Twiggy's ass to joking with them), but the crowning achievement in paparazzi idiocy was the time they confused him with Michael Jackson... after Jackson's death. He was completely dumbfounded by the stupidity.
- When Kylie Minogue returned to Australia for breast cancer treatment, media and fans began to congregate outside the Minogue residence in Melbourne, prompting Victorian premier Steve Bracks to warn the media against breaching Australian privacy laws.
- Pierce Brosnan (of James Bond fame) and his family were hounded by a photographer. Feeling that enough was enough, he walloped the fellow. That'll teach him not to mess with James Bond.
- Another rare heroic case, though not at first. While not a photographer, 1930s nigh universally maligned celebrity reporter Walt Winchell stunned the US by taking on his publisher, William Randolph Hearst, then using his precious little radio time to do something almost no other reporter had done... speak out against the Holocaust and Adolf Hitler.
- Once, Buzz Aldrin and his daughter were being stalked by a reporter who claimed that the moon landings were faked. Aldrin was polite at first, but when the reporter started calling him a liar, Aldrin punched him in the face. Mind you, he was 72 years old at the time. And it's on YouTube!
- Not only the pap was bitching Buzz out, but he was pretty unpleasant towards Buzz's daughter. That would teach him.
- Muriel "Fili" Houttemann got two of these to photograph her cavorting naked with Daniel Ducruet, the then-husband of Princess Stephanie Grimaldi.
- A paparazzo once decided it would be a brilliant idea to sneak into Bruce Lee's backyard to try and get shots of him. Unfortunately, his kids Shannon and Brandon were in the yard at the time, and he terrified them]]; a very angry Lee kicked the man with such force, it knocked him out instantly and may have killed him if Lee's foot was a bit more to the side.
- Daniel Radcliffe of Harry Potter fame has allegedly been trolling Paparazzi by wearing the same clothes, making their pictures unpublishable, as they can't be proven to be recent.
- Sean Penn reportedly once caught a paparazzo hiding in his hotel room and proceeded to dangle him from his ninth floor balcony.
- Those pictures of celebrities making obscene gestures and such, many aren't being rude so much as devaluing any picture of them because more mainstream outlets won't run them.
- Similarily, the famous picture of Einstein sticking his tongue out was him being upset by the photographer interrupting a get-together, only to have the picture become iconic.