Many of Tarek El Moussa’s own fans were left greatly irritated by a new social media post from the HGTV star, in which he shared a paparazzi photo of himself carrying designer shopping bags for his wife of nearly one year, fellow reality TV star Heather Rae El Moussa, shared . Some fans berated him for boasting about his wealth, while others accused the Flipping 101 host of staging the paparazzi footage.
On September 20, 2022, Tarek posted a photo of himself to Instagram and Facebook carrying a large Versace bag and a Louis Vuitton gift box.
The home renovation expert, who rose to fame while filming the popular HGTV movie Flip or Flop with ex-wife Christina Hall, wrote: “Caught by the paparazzi securing all the bags. Just kidding, they caught me holding Heather’s gifts… so basically another average day for me.”
Many fans assumed the photo was taken while Tarek was shopping for Heather’s birthday on September 16, but it was actually taken after celebrating her birthday that night at Craig’s in West Hollywood. While some fans hailed Tarek for loving his wife, who is part of the Netflix cast of “Selling Sunset,” many slammed the HGTV host for flaunting his wealth with what one fan “brag bags.” called.
One Instagram fan wrote: “I support people making it and having wonderful things. What annoys me is when people keep showing off what they have. It is so sad. How about a post about donating your time or money to help others?”
“Just things…I’m not impressed,” one woman wrote. “Your insecurities are showing… Flaunting is off-putting and embarrassing.”
When someone wrote, “There’s an art to being subtle yet stylish,” another fan replied, “Not with him.”
A similar pushback came from people on Tarek’s Facebook fan page.
Dozens of people liked a comment from a fan who wrote, “You hold Brag Bags!” Many also liked a comment that said, “Drop the humble bag…”
When another Facebook fan wrote, “I wonder what made you post THIS,” someone replied, “Pretentious, arrogant and insubstantial. It’s enough.”
Another Facebook user commented: “There is so much suffering right now. I might want to tone it down a bit,” while another wrote, “These bags are worth more than anything I have.”
In addition to complaining about Tarek flaunting the designer gifts Heather received, many fans also accused the couple of staging the paparazzi photos to generate more media attention.
Some celebrities have been known to tell the paparazzi where they will be. Sometimes they even get paid to be photographed in “everyday” situations because publications know their images will attract more readers, or brands want fans to see their favorite stars with their products.
In 2020, during the third season of “Selling Sunset,” Heather’s co-star Christine Quinn claimed the pair staged paparazzi photos and negotiated with publications for media coverage.
“Unless you’re Jennifer Aniston, I don’t think the paparazzi will just chase you,” she told Heather during an episode, adding, “People hire publicists and entire teams to get their name out there. They’ll call or give leads.” She later said it was suspicious that the El Moussas were so often featured in the media for mundane things like “baking cookies” or going out to restaurants.
The couple denied Quinn’s allegations, and Tarek addressed the controversy on a Dear Media podcast earlier this year, saying: “Christine has a big mouth. She said some shit about us. I’m not really interested in engaging with their nonsense.”
But following Tarek’s latest post, it’s clear some of his fans believe he tipped off the paparazzi, who he claimed “caught” him holding Heather’s gifts.
One Instagram follower wrote: “Reminds me when Christine Quinn outed you guys – what you call yourselves the paparazzi. also the stories of People Magazine twice a week. Let’s face it — real paparazzi don’t follow via an HGTV show host and a supporting actress on a fake reality show.
Another person on Instagram asked how the paparazzi knew they were at the restaurant, adding, “Did you call them?!?”
Over on Facebook, one fan wrote: “I’m sure you got ‘caught’. You definitely gave a hint to the public at the time.”
The restaurant that hosted Heather’s birthday dinner is a celebrity hotspot, with paparazzi often queuing outside, waiting to photograph celebrity guests as they exit.
Video posted by the Daily Mail showed the couple and their patrons exiting the restaurant and Tarek then called his driver to pick them up. Instead of waiting in the restaurant for their ride, they hugged patrons goodbye and stood on the sidewalk, happily posing and answering photographers’ questions for over five minutes, until a large black luxury van arrived to take the couple away.
The El Moussas are expecting their first baby together in early 2023. Her new HGTV show, The Flipping El Moussas, will debut around the same time.