Fans Accuse HGTV’s Tarek El Moussa of Flaunting Wealth & Staging Paparazzi Photo

Heather Rae and Tarek El Moussa

Getty HGTV's Tarek El Moussa gets a kiss from his wife, Heather Rae El Moussa, in June 2022

Many of Tarek El Moussa’s own fans were highly 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 a year, fellow reality TV personality Heather Rae El Moussa. Some fans called him out for bragging about his wealth, while others accused the “Flipping 101” host of staging the paparazzi shots.

Tarek Posts Photo of Himself Carrying Packages From Luxury Brands

On September 20, 2022, Tarek posted a photo of himself on Instagram and Facebook, in which he’s seen carrying a large Versace bag and a gift box from Louis Vuitton.

The renovation expert, who rose to fame while filming HGTV’s popular “Flip or Flop” with ex-wife Christina Hall, wrote, “Got 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 captured while Tarek was shopping for Heather’s September 16 birthday, but it was actually taken following a birthday party for her that night at Craig’s in West Hollywood. While some fans praised Tarek for doting on his wife, who is part of Netflix’s “Selling Sunset” cast, many slammed the HGTV host for flaunting his wealth with what one fan called “brag bags.”

One Instagram fan wrote, “I am all for people making it and having wonderful things. What irks me is when people are constantly showing off what they have. It’s so sad. How about 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 repulsive and embarrassing.”

When someone wrote, “There is an art to being subtle, yet classy,” another fan replied, “Not with him.”

Similar pushback came from people on Tarek’s Facebook fan page.

Dozens of people liked a comment from one fan who wrote, “You’re holding Brag Bags!” Many also liked a comment that said, “dropped the humble bag…”

When another Facebook fan wrote, “Wonder what made you feel the need to post THIS,” someone replied, “Pretentiousness, arrogance and no substance. It’s enough already.”

Another Facebook user commented, “There is so much suffering right now. Might want to tone it down,” while another wrote, “Those bags are worth more than everything I have.”

Fans Accuse the El Moussas of Staging Paparazzi Photos

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 tip off the paparazzi about where they’ll be. At times, they’re even paid to be photographed in “everyday” situations because publications know their images will attract more readers or brands want fans to see their favorite celebrities using their products.

In 2020, during the third season of “Selling Sunset,” Heather’s co-star Christine Quinn claimed the couple stages paparazzi photos and negotiates media coverage with publications.

“Unless you’re Jennifer Aniston, I don’t think the paparazzi just follows you around,” she told Heather during one episode, adding “people hire publicists and whole teams to get their name out there. They’ll call or drop hints.” She later went on to say it was suspicious that the El Moussas are featured so often in the media for doing everyday things like “baking cookies” or going to a restaurant.

The couple denied Quinn’s accusations, and Tarek addressed the controversy on a Dear Media podcast that year, saying, “Christine has a big mouth. She’s said some sh**** things about us. I’m not really interested in dealing with her nonsense.”

But after Tarek’s most recent post, it’s clear some of his fans think he tipped off the paparazzi he claimed “caught” him holding Heather’s gifts.

One Instagram follower wrote, “This reminds me of when Christine Quinn outed you guys- on how you call the paparazzi on yourself. also- the People Magazine stories twice a week. Let’s be honest- real paparazzi doesn’t follow about an HGTV show host and a side 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 am sure you got ‘caught’. You most definitely tipped then off for publicity.”

The restaurant where Heather’s birthday dinner was held is a celebrity hotspot where paparazzi often line up outside, waiting to photograph famous diners as they leave.

A video posted by the Daily Mail showed that the couple and their guests exited the restaurant and then Tarek called his driver to pick them up. Rather than wait inside the restaurant for their ride, they hugged guests goodbye and stood on the sidewalk, happily posing and replying to photographers’ questions for over five minutes, until a large black luxury van arrived to whisk the couple away.

The El Moussas are expecting their first baby together in early 2023. Their new HGTV show, “The Flipping El Moussas,” will debut around the same time.

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