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"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."
Humbert Wolfe

This is a staple of any work of fiction dealing with celebrities — especially those aiming to show Celebrity Is Overrated. The characters will inevitably have to deal with media-folk 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. Particularly bad ones fall under Immoral Journalist.

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. For some reason, most people who do this wear a Press Hat. If the paparazzi are swarming over a target at night they may produce a Blinding Camera Flash.

Grammatical note: in Italian "paparazzi" is the plural and the singular is "paparazzo", but in English "paparazzi" is often used as a singular.


    open/close all folders 

  • Cadbury's Caramel Bunny: Two weasel paparazzi meet the bunny in this advert.
  • This Heineken ad for the 2005 Super Bowl features Brad Pitt being chased by a gigantic horde of paparazzi as soon as he leaves his apartment, even when he's simply going to a convenience store to buy some beer. The ad implies that this is a regular occurence, as Brad casually ignores the hundreds of paparazzi obsessively trying to photograph him and is even shown to be friendly with a few of them, referring to one by name.

    Anime & Manga 
  • In Assassination Classroom, all of Class 1-E is swarmed by paparazzi when Koro-Sensei is blocked inside the school. The class tries to explain Koro's innocence only for the media to immediately dodge certain questions and statements and start twisting their words around to make the story "juicier" for everyone watching. They are soon chased away by Karasuma and his men, who end up having to keep the crowd at bay while the students remain at the school to mourn over the death of their teacher. During their graduation ceremony, they are once again bombarded by the media. Fortunately, the Big 5 of Class 1-A come in and shield them from the oncoming paparazzi as they escort them towards the bus and away from school.
  • 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.
  • In Case Closed, 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.
  • In Digimon Data Squad, Yoshino gets pursued down the street when she's linked with a pop singer.
  • In Full Moon, 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.
  • Late in The Idolmaster, a paparazzo is hired by Kuroi to dig up dirt on the 765 PRO idols. Takane takes him down after discovering the plot, but then a real story on Chihaya's past is discovered and becomes Tabloid Melodrama.
  • Kaiju Girl Caramelise: After Arata Minami gets kissed by Kuroe in her Harugon form, he gets followed at a distance by various media types trying to get pictures of and interviews with the "Kaiju Prince". To avoid being recognized in public, he starts wearing a face mask whenever he's anywhere other than his home or school. He also reluctantly suggests to Kuroe that they stay away from each other in public until the story dies down so that she won't also get harassed by the paparazzi.
  • In Nana, Nana and Ren's relationship is exposed, leading to a media frenzy. Yasu decks one of them.

    Comic Books 
  • 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.
  • In the Hi Hi Puffy AmiYumi story "Strike A Pose" (DC issue #3), the girls don't know a moment's peace because of some paparazzi who pester them even when they're at home in their bus, taking embarrassing shots of them. The only way to get rid of them is to pose politely and smile for the shots, which render them quite worthless since they're not embarrassing and scandalous.
  • 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 Punisher: A non-celebrity version with Chuck Self, a smarmy journalist using Soap (Frank's informant on the police force) as a hostage in order to follow him on a night of killing criminals, hiring two thugs to kill Soap if they don't get a text from him every hour. He very quickly finds out he's in too deep, and after getting shot in the hand, the ass, and losing his tongue, he ends up in a woodchipper feet-first when it turns on (none of which were even Frank's doing).
  • Red Robin: When a panicking Tam Fox tells Vicky Vale that she's engaged to Tim when Vicky starts questioning her about the Waynes' secret, and making it clear she basically already knows they're the Batfamily despite Tam's protests, Tam and Tim are hounded by paparazzi wanting to cover the romance between members of two of Gotham's most respected families. They peter off a bit after Tim reveals the engagement isn't real.
  • Spider-Man:
    • 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.
    • Part of Betty Brant's Adaptational Jerkass in Ultimate Spider-Man involved her being nothing but this. She wanted to just get famous and when Kraven first appeared, she was supposed to report on him, but ending up sleeping with him, costing the Bugle points in its reputation. Even after this, she came trying to get stories, even at the expense of her co-workers and was about to (incorrect) out Jefferson Morales as the second Spider-Man before she's killed, not caring about the damage she'd done to his family or even bothering to confirm if she was right.
  • The Ultimates: The hospital were Jan was being treated after Pym's murder attempt started to get filled by this people, so Nick ordered to take her back to the Triskelion.

    Comic Strips 

    Fan Works 
  • Abraxas (Hrodvitnon): Thor and Monster X's presence at Mothra's shrine in the Yunnan Rainforest draws multiple human paparazzi who observe and attempt to document them from afar, including Steve Irwin.
  • An Act of Protection revolves around Ladybug sacrificing her Secret Identity in order to protect Chat Noir from losing his after a mob of unruly reporters refuses to let them leave after an akuma battle. Despite Chat Noir furiously calling them out, berating them for basically handing Hawkmoth her civilian identity on a silver platter, the majority of the reporters show absolutely no remorse for what they've done.
  • In The AFR Universe, Hifiumi Togo is frequently hounded by shutterbugs due to her past as the idol shoji player and the scandal of her mother rigging the matches in her favor. Twice she has been caught on camera with Ryuji, sprouting a new tabloid article about what kind of double life she must be living for associating with a Japanese Delinquent like him.
  • The final chapter of Alone, Together involves Kim and Shego being caught kissing by a horde of camera-wielding reporters, much to Kim's horror. Ron intervenes and shames the mob enough to defuse the situation.
  • Craving the Sky: The day after she reveals herself as a winged Faunus on national television, Weiss gets swarmed by a mob of reporters while trying to go out for coffee with Blake.
  • Deku? I think he's some pro...: At one point during Katsuki's internship with Mirko, a paparazzo badgers him with leading questions, suggesting that footage of Izuku was doctored to make the Quirkless kid look stronger than he actually is. Mirko shuts the reporter down by asking him point-blank if he'd be able to fight a Serial Killer with his Quirk.
  • Distortions (Symphogear): These become a serious problem after the girls' civilian identities are leaked to the press, as the media starts invading their privacy trying to wrangle 'exclusive interviews' out of them.
  • In Duties, Rarity and the rest of the Element Bearers are crowned as princesses. This leads to Sweetie Belle being harassed by the media to the point that her teacher Cheerilee has to intervene, along with her being given members of the Royal Guard as personal bodyguards.
  • Erased Potential has Kadano Eiko, an Immoral Journalist who believes that people will always choose money over morals. She learns through her sources about Endeavor's abusive treatment of Shouto and the rest of his family, and is more than happy to blow that bombshell sky high... especially after U.A. decides to make the Sports Festival a more private affair, creating a lull in the media she gleefully fills with her "exclusive".
  • Exoteric takes Tokuda Taneo from the Recap Episode "The Scoop on U.A. Class 1-A", who decides to publish an expose on who he believes All Might's secret successor to be: Ojiro Mashirao. This results in him and his family being harassed by reporters, several of whom suggest that his mother might have cheated on his father... only for his mother to point out that Ojiro and all of his siblings have inherited their father's tail.
  • Flashback (MHA): All Might's status as an accidental harem protagonist is helped along in no small part by how the press outright refuses to consider that he might want to speak privately with a woman for reasons other than courtship.
  • Haigha: Miruko first learns about Izuku and his rabbit-like features when a tabloid reporter asks about her supposed 'secret son' with a shit-eating grin. Miruko deals with this by coming up with all manner of Blatant Lies and obviously contradictory "answers", alteratingly claiming that he's her son, her nephew, her younger brother... after getting him involved, he even claims to be her time-traveling father.
  • I Will Not Bow: One of the ways that Akane's mother is shown to be a real piece of work is by leaking the information of which school her daughter's attending to the paparazzi herself, seeing the resulting harassment as "good press". This illustrates how she doesn't give a damn about her daughter's safety or what she might want, only caring about "boosting her career" at any cost.
  • It's Over, Isn't It (it's only just begun):
    • One of the reasons why Toshinori kept his marriage secret was that he didn't want his family dragged into the spotlight. After his Heroic Sacrifice against All For One, Nighteye reflects that if the media knew about Inko and Izuku, they'd be dragged out into the public eye and forced to bear the world's grief.
    • strong has a reporter ambush Aizawa as he's leaving Nighteye's agency, shoving a microphone into his face and bombarding him with questions until Nighteye intervenes and confiscates his recorder. He casually addresses the paparazzo by name (Souzou), pointing out that he's been repeatedly ordered to stay away from his agency and stop spreading Malicious Slander about his employees.
  • The plot of LadyBugOut is kicked off when Alya posts a picture of Ladybug and Chat Noir kissing while their memories were wiped away by Oblivio. She did so over Ladybug's objections, and refused to disclose the circumstances behind it. When challenged about this, Alya insists that she didn't do anything wrong, and that this was simply the price Ladybug had to pay for being a public figure. The incident spurs Marinette to start her own blog as Ladybug in order to set the record straight, and Alya's reputation tanks once the public realizes she's more than happy to lie to them for the sake of a 'scoop'.
  • Leave for Mendeleiev: Since Marinette transferred to Ms. Mendeleiev's class before Alya arrived as a New Transfer Student, they don't become friends, and Marinette sees her primarily as a threat to her Secret Identity due to how she keeps pursuing it. As far as Alya is concerned, since most American superheroes don't bother maintaining a secret identity, Ladybug shouldn't have one either.
  • The Many Quirks of Investigation Teamery: Rise frequently has to deal with these, due to her career as Risette. Yu is also familiar with them since both of his parents work high-profile business jobs, but were comparatively easier for reporters to reach and harass than their superiors.
  • Miraculous: Tales of Scarlet Beetle & Ikati Black: It's repeatedly mentioned that Adrien's friends know a lot of random details about him not because he told them, but because they've seen the information in various tabloids.
  • moral of the story (Nyame): After Laurel is Driven to Suicide, some unscrupulous reporters get their hands on her suicide note... and promptly publish it. This destroys Oliver's reputation, as she cites his telling her to Quit Your Whining as one of the main reasons she's decided to take her own life.
  • Of Love and Bunnies: Jason deeply despises reporters due to how the media relently pursued the Red Ranger's Secret Identity after the "Ranger Parade" incident. The only reporter he doesn't dislike is Carrie, who was a sportswriter at the time and penned a series of editorials calling out her colleagues.
  • When Overhaul captures Aizawa and reverts him to a toddler mindset in the My Hero Academia fic Pay No Mind (to what other voices say), Present Mic hopes to carry out the rescue raid quietly but the paparazzi show up anyway. Despite Fat Gum trying to shield Hizashi as he carries Aizawa to the car but several embarrassing photos of Pro Hero Present Mic carrying Pro Hero Eraserhead who's wearing baby clothes and a diaper still get out, to Hizashi's annoyance.
  • Scarlet Lady:
    • "Prime Queen" revolves around Nadja Chamack being a Shipper with an Agenda: she lands a live interview with Paris' three main protectors on her show, only to present them with a picture of Chat Noir kissing Marigold while she was under Dark Cupid's spell, without that critical context. She proceeds to harass the pair, trying to strongarm them into a Love Confession, all for the sake of boosting her show's ratings. After Scarlet Lady throws a fit and the trio storm off the set, she gets akumatized into Prime Queen, who decides taking hostages is the best way to force out that coveted confession.
    • Queen Wasp shows that Nadja hasn't gotten any better about this. After the titular akuma has been defeated, Nadja dials up their mother on her tablet and has her crew pointing a camera at the victim while gleefully asking their mother how she feels about her daughter being akumatized. Said victim grabbing the tablet and tossing it into the Seine feels honestly deserved.
  • The Simpsons: Team L.A.S.H.: As a celebrity, Liv has several run-ins with these, including in the Title Sequence.
  • Two Letters: Nadja frequently harassed Ladybug about her potential "relationship" with Chat Noir, as well as wanting details from their personal lives despite the dangers. After the original Ladybug retires, the new Ladybug is more than happy to surround herself with media shills, incoporating Nadja into her Propaganda Machine. Due to this, Nadja discovers that her reputation has been completely ruined; her peers outside of Paris believe she's nothing more than a lowly shill, and that she's happy singing the new Ladybug's praises.
  • What Goes Around Comes Around (Miraculous Ladybug):
    • After Marinette's Secret Identity is exposed by Shadow Moth attacking the Dupain-Cheng Bakery, forcing her to go all out and take him down defending her home, Alya is far more interested in taking advantage of the fact that her "bestie" was Ladybug. In fact, she declares that Marinette owes her for not revealing this to her sooner, with a laundry list of expectations — exclusive interviews, to be shown exactly where her family is living after the attack, and, oh yeah — she wants her and Nino to be made full-time heroes and be allowed to reveal their identities on the Ladyblog. For the views. This entitled attitude just drives a wedge between her and Marinette, as she doesn't recognize how unreasonable she's being.
    • Marinette also has to deal with other reporters harassing her after her secret identity is exposed, not just Alya. This is part of the reason why her family was so careful to keep where they were staying secret, with Alya not understanding that she's acting just like the people they want to keep away from their temporary lodgings.
    • The sequel Truth & Journalism brings in Bill 'Buster' Brockman as a Foil for Alya; while he fancies himself to be an Intrepid Reporter, he's not-so-secretly Driven by Envy, despising celebrities and heroes like Ladybug for having the fame he believes he rightly deserves. So he takes immense pleasure in trying to ruin their lives with whatever scandals he can scrounge up or manufacture. Dealing with him causes Alya to have a Jerkass Realization about her own behavior.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • 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.
  • 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 to 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.
  • One of the main instigators of conflict in The Birdcage is a paparazzo who continually stalks Kevin Keely in an attempt to be the first to get a shot of him in a compromising situation after his business partner is caught having died while spending the night with an underaged, black prostitute. He does things from paying off Keeley's driver to lead him to where the Keeleys are headed all the way to removing a message from Val telling his birth mother not to come up in hopes it will spark controversy.
  • In Bulworth, the title character, a Senator who's hired someone to kill him, changes his mind and thinks a man wearing sunglasses who has been hounding him is the assassin. Turns out the man is a paparazzo who's chasing Bulworth to get a picture of him.
  • In The Circle, the paparazzi are rabid social media junkies with their phones and drones and Mercer becomes an Internet celebrity (although a rather infamous one when his lamp made of deer antlers is shown online) who gets hounded into a reunion with his friend Mae due to the testing of a new program by the titular social media network, and gets killed by the persistent hounding.
  • 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
  • The word "paparazzi" comes from the character Paparazzo in Federico Fellini's film La Dolce Vita. It literally means "mosquito", which is rather apt...
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • In preparation for starring in and directing Interview, Steve Buscemi spent some time disguised as a paparazzo.
    • He also played a paparazzo in Delirious (2006).
  • Marvel Cinematic Universe: A Deleted Scene from Avengers: Infinity War shows Happy Hogan working hard to keep paparazzi away from Tony Stark and Pepper as to protect their incoming wedding. And he must do this a lot, because when he spots a paparazzo, he knows him by name.
    Happy Hogan: BURT! I SEE YOU, BURT!
  • Murder on the Orient Express. The 1930's version hound a famous Count and take his photograph without permission. Apparently it's a Berserk Button as he proceeds to knock them out with savate. Another reporter then takes his photo, but when the Count gives him a Death Glare he deliberately drops his camera rather than suffer the same fate, smashing the photographic plate.
  • 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.
  • Paparazzo. Unlike other examples of this trope the title character played by Nick Berry is one, so it presents a more even-handed view of the profession.
  • The Public Eye has Joe Pesci playing a 1940's tabloid photographer (inspired by "Weegee" Fellig). As it's a Noir film, he's presented more as an Anti-Hero.
  • Freddy Lounds in Red Dragon, as well as Manhunter, the earliest version of the story. In both movies, Will Graham decides to do a Deal with the Devil (even though Lounds has been publicly hounding him and wrote unflattering articles about him when he was in the hospital) and gives Lounds an exclusive interview in order to draw out Francis Dolarhyde, aka "The Tooth Fairy", the serial killer Graham is chasing. Unfortunately for both Graham and Lounds, Dolarhyde has other ideas.
  • 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).
  • In That Old Feeling, Bette Midler plays a movie star who is frequently chased by a certain paparazzo.

  • 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.
  • The Color of Distance: 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.
  • James Herbert's novel Creed is about a paparazzo stumbling upon a satanic cult.
  • Esther Diamond: Al Tarr in Vamparazzi is a profile writer, but the deliberately-sensationalist direction his profiles actually take cements him as this.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • In Death: Just about every reporter, except for Nadine Furst, is this.
  • Newsflesh: 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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 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.
  • 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.

    Live-Action TV 
  • 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)."
  • Arrow: It occasionally gets referenced that sometime before the Queen's Gambit sank, Oliver punched a paparazzi.
  • The mockumentary Being Michael Madsen is basically Michael Madsen vs. the paparazzi, who are trying to implicate him in the disappearance of a young actress. Of course we don't really blame the paparazzi because Madsen is Adam Westing in the vein of every psycho he's ever played.
  • 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.
  • Black Mirror, "Mazey Day": Paps are established as grimy and exploitative. Bo feels guilt and is further disgusted by how her 'colleagues' loudly slut shame Mazey in order to get footage of her and are gleeful about it afterward. She tries to quit afterward.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Fearne Cotton filmed a documentary series where she followed Paris Hilton around for a week, and that included going with her to the shoot of a hidden camera series called I Get That A Lot. As the gimmick was Paris working as a gas station attendant pretending to be someone who just looked like Paris, they knew they had limited time to film before the paparazzi showed up and ruined the facade. Sure enough, they had to make a quick getaway once they were discovered.
  • Jessica Jones (2015): Trish Walker, as a former child star, had to put up with having her privacy stripped from her when she was 12 and her mother pushed her into acting. She's not happy when Jessica's idea of keeping her from going to a meeting with a person who claims to be Dr. Leslie Hansen is to sic the paparazzi on her and claim that Trish's relationship with Griffin Sinclair is on the outs. Despite Trish's attempt to sneak out of her apartment by having Malcolm distract them, they're photographed together anyways by one paparazzo who's not fooled by Trish's attempt at distraction, and the next day, a picture of them splashed across the tabloids, forcing Trish and Griffin to make an impromptu press conference to reporters outside the radio station where Trish hosts her show.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
    • Not to mention the Series Two special Through the Anomaly...
      "Don't you just hate the Paparazzi?" *click* (sighs and shakes head)
  • A significant antagonizing 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.
  • An episode of Total Divas has Cameron actively trying to seek out the paparazzi and be photographed to boost her star power (after seeing Kim Kardashian be photographed in the area).
  • An episode of Twice in a Lifetime has a once-promising reporter who has spent a career doing lame celebrity stalking stories dying while rummaging through a garbage bin for info. She's sent back to stop her younger self from going down this path with an expose of a troubled star. The reporter finds it hard to stop her younger self before revealing the secret only she would know: The younger woman's groundbreaking story of a college frat selling drugs was completely made up. That's why the older woman fell into a paparazzi life, she knew deep down she didn't deserve to be a real reporter. Pushed, the younger version refuses to do the expose after all. The older version is returned to a new life where she ended up redeeming herself to become a respected reporter after all.
  • Victorious: One episode had Robbie becoming the high school version of this, taking embarrassing pictures and videos of his friends and posting it online. He even recruits younger students to take the videos for him.
  • An episode of Without a Trace had one of these as the Victim of the Week. While it was initially assumed that he'd been killed by one of the celebrities he'd been hassling, it turned out he was actually working on a legitimate story and had gotten injured during the course of his investigation (he was found alive Just in Time).
  • 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.
  • An episode of Youre 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.

  • Adam Ant's "Goody Two Shoes" was an expression of annoyance towards privacy-invading journalists.
  • Britney Spears - "Piece of Me" is about the scrutiny of Britney's private life, largely thanks to the paparazzi.
  • Brooke Hogan - "About Us"
  • Delta Goodrem:
    • "Electric Storm" is about holding a relationship in light of it.
    • Also implied in the lyrics for "Heavy":
      But when it's hard to breathe, when I just can't get off the floor
      I long for days when I was free, a life I lived so long before
  • "Dirty Laundry" by the Eagles 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.
  • Hypocrisy - "Destroyed" (possibly - in any case he gives fame the finger)
  • 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 turns out to be rather comical!
  • 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" is about how when she goes to a nightclub anticipating that the paparazzi are "probably gonna write what you didn't see". It was originally written for Britney Spears.
  • While we're at it, Pretenders - "Jealous Dogs"
  • Queen's "Scandal" was written about how the British tabloids were trying to pry into the private lives of Freddie Mercury (as he was secretly suffering from HIV/AIDS) and Brian May (over his divorce and subsequent marriage to Anita Dobson).
  • "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.
  • Xzibit laments "sellout rappers" encouraging media attention and scrutiny in his 1996 breakout song "Paparazzi".

    Music Videos 
  • While the Britney Spears song "Everytime" is not about this, the video depicts Britney and her boyfriend being hounded by the paparazzi when trying to go to their hotel room. At one point, the boyfriend tries to fend them off by literally grabbing a stack of magazines and throwing them. It then shows one photographer leering at him, obviously delighted at capturing a picture of it.
  • Michael Jackson:
    • The music video for "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).
    • In the video for Michael Jackson's "Billie Jean", a paparazzo dressed in a Conspicuous Trenchcoat and Sinister Shades follows Jackson around trying to get a shot of him with the mysterious Billie Jean.
  • The music video for Miley Cyrus' "Fly On The Wall" shows her hanging out with a boy until a full moon transforms him into an obsessive paparazzo. The rest of the video sees her running from a group of paparazzi hunting her down until the same boy picks her up, secretly recording her ensuing rant about the night's events for a celebrity gossip site. The song itself, while very much applicable to the paparazzi, has lyrics that imply it's about a Stalker with a Crush instead.
  • In the video for Naked Eyes' "Always Something There to Remind Me", a famous celebrity that is married at the start of the video gets harassed by photographers everywhere she goes in public, even when she gets divorced.

    Pro Wrestling 
  • 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.

    Puppet Shows 
  • The Muppet Show briefly features one of these, Fleet Scribbler, but the producers found him to be so annoying that he was ditched as quickly as possible.

  • Diana: The Musical: Charles and Diana are frequently hounded by paparazzi. "Snap (Click)" is about the tabloid paps, who sing about how they're a public service even if they rudely and greedily violate privacy.
  • Cirque du Soleil's jukebox circus Michael Jackson: ONE has the evil Tabloid Junkies and a scenery piece called the Paparazzi Monster serving as the primary antagonists. The former are Red and Black and Evil All Over, wear trenchcoats, and even harass the audience during the preshow.

  • Tamagotchi: His name being a pun on "paparazzi" and all, Paparatchi loves taking photos in general, but especially celebrities.

    Video Games 
  • In Alan Wake, the titular character once punched a paparazzo.
  • 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...
  • A series of optional side missions in Grand Theft Auto V involve helping a paparazzi by driving him alongside celebrities' limos. In keeping with GTA's cynical look at the American Dream, the paparazzi is a vulgar, boundary-violating sleaze who will deflect with "the fans' right to know about their stars" when questioned, even though the photos he's trying to get are as trivial and stupid as "a male star without his gut sucked in," or "a female star having a Wardrobe Malfunction."
  • 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.
  • In the Mass Effect series:
  • Scott Pilgrim vs. The World: The Game: Paparazzi are common enemies in the second stage. 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 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).
    • Paparazzi have been a feature of The Sims since the first game, with the Superstar expansion pack. They've recently returned with The Sims 4 Get Famous.
  • Aya Shameimaru, the tengu Intrepid Reporter of the Touhou Project 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.

    Visual Novels 
  • Ace Attorney: After her experiences with "real ghosts" at Kurain Temple, Lotta Hart switches to celebrity photography.
  • Subverted in Double Homework with Daniela. While she is taking pictures of the protagonist wherever he goes, she isn’t from the press. Her pictures are for a scientific experiment instead.
  • 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.

    Web Comics 
  • In Complicated Ness Ozzie and Ness come home to find the paparazzi swarming the entrance to their apartment.
  • In Kevin & Kell Fiona does some training as a paparazzi for a school assignment. Trained by a vulture, no less.
  • The main character of NEXT!!! Sound of the Future starts the story as a paparazzi who secretly photographs famous idols to sell their pictures to the press. She took up her profession after failing to become an Idol Singer herself, although after losing her camera in the first chapter she considers trying to be an idol again since she needs a new way to make money.
  • The final arc of The Suburban Jungle has Tiffany and her friends harassed by "ninja-razzi" who turn out to be working for the producer of the movie she's starring in, trying to manufacture drama to sell to the tabloids.

    Web Original 
  • 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 take the fall for him. The revelation that his super-power is X-Ray Vision didn't help his reputation any.

    Web Videos 
  • The video "The Forgotten Legacy of Brittany Murphy" pinpoints the paparazzi's obsession with making up stories about Brittany Murphy as having a direct hand in her career setbacks in the mid-2000s - with gossip columnists insisting that her Genki Girl personality was from a cocaine addiction, and she was "difficult" to work with. One incident is described where the actress was swarmed by paparazzi, and refused an interview from one reporter by saying "your magazine hurt my life", before back-tracking out of fear of what story would be printed. The paparazzi's obsession with the 'coke addict' narrative even led to years of rumour that her death in 2009 was from a drug overdose, when it was actually pneumonia that she had put off getting treatment for out of fear of what the paparazzi might print if she were seen going to a doctor.
  • In the Hat Films series Hat Pack, Colin the journalist is described as working for a "shitty tabloid" and pursuing useless stories.

    Western Animation 
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Kim Possible: In her debut episode, villainous heiress Camille Leon is constantly followed around by a number of photographers who usually have to be forcibly removed by security guards. Being an Attention Whore, she always stops to pose for them — which helps Kim realize she must be the culprit, since she's going out of her way to get caught on security cameras disguised as someone else.
  • My Dad the Rock Star had a recurring one named Scoop, who has a personal hatred of Rock Zilla and his family due to an unpleasant first encounter between Rock and him.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Total Drama's Celebrity Manhunt special introduces the hosts of the eponymous Show Within a Show, Blaineley and Josh, a pair of gossip-hounds who rival Chris McLean in sleaziness and shamelessness and are obsessed with the lives of the Total Drama contestants and trying to dig up dirt or stir doo-doo around them. Blaineley later appeared in World Tour as an Aftermath co-host, continuing to pull the same stunts as she did before. Geoff eventually gets fed up with her and has her taken to the show itself, where she gets eliminated after two episodes and injured.

    Real Life 
  • 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.
  • Paparazzi were involved in the deaths of Lady Diana Spencer 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 (as a consequence of the "freedom of the press" etched to American values), 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. It comes as no surprise that some paparazzi get socked in the face if they go too far. The most common way for the paparazzi to go too far is to harass or otherwise upset their targets' children.
  • 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.
  • Jennifer Aniston did something similar. She would leave the house wearing a distinctive set of orange cargo pants, so that all photos of her would look identical and therefore unusable.
  • 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.
    • Kristen Stewart in particular has a tendency to flip the bird when she sees strangers with cameras.
    • Similarly, 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.
  • Amy Adams was not prepared for the attention that was thrust on her after her Star-Making Role in Enchanted - claiming that photographers were following her into her apartment building and chasing her up the stairs.
  • Rose McGowan in her autobiography describes the paparazzi in the early 2000s as the worst - as suddenly "every stranger with a phone became a potential informant" and the lack of social media made it harder to defend oneself if rumors or out of context pictures were published.
  • Groups of South Korean reporters tend to follow idols and wait for them in airports when they are traveling for a schedule, snapping endless photos of them at near and close distances. Korea Dispatch, an online media outlet infamous in the Kpop scene for having paparazzi who specialize in catching celebrities going on secret dates and reporting rumors to the point where Korean stars sometimes make Take That! jokes about Dispatch.
  • Emma Stone and Andrew Garfield have weaponized the paparazzi by holding up signs telling people to pay less attention to them, and more to important social issues, suggesting charitable organizations they should check out.


Video Example(s):

Alternative Title(s): Paparazzo



When the Eds are trying to get to Rolf's house unseen so that Rolf can cure Eddy's pimple problem, they end up getting ambushed by the Kids with cameras, forcing them to make a break for it, all shown in snapshots.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (15 votes)

Example of:

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