If you were to analyze a timeline of sensationalized journalism in America, one could estimate that the first time a photographer was punched in the face for taking a picture was around 1920. It was close to that time the USA adopted the tabloid format from the Brits and used it to distribute stories of scandal to the smut-starved masses who ate it up faster than soup in a depression-era chow line. Invading the privacy of public figures is a century-long national tradition and well before Academy Award winners were catapulting iPhones into the sides of brick buildings the relationship between celebrities and camera lenses had already been a rocky road. As people whose livelihood comes directly from being recorded, you'd think they'd have a lighter temperament when it came to smiling for cameras off-set, but then again, celebrities are only human. However, it's those exact human moments that sell the most papers, and if a paparazzo can antagonize enough to make those human moments turn animalistic, well, those moments sell even more. Here are the 15 most infamous encounters between celebrities and the paparazzi.
15 Lamar Odom Turns Camera Equipment Into Bits Of Plastic
A publicly-broadcast fall from grace must be all the more painful when you're 6'10. In 2013, Lamar Odom's lanky body was in a midair nosedive headed toward the most jagged of rock bottoms. At the time of this incident, the former Los Angeles Clippers forward had been married to reality television super sister Khloe Kardashian for four years, but word on the street was that the couple had hit a rough patch. Their KUWTK spin-off, Khloe and Lamar, was canceled after Odom claimed production "wore him down," and rumors of his suspected infidelity were floating around and beginning to spill over into the mainstream media. On a sunny afternoon in Hollywood, when a courageous paparazzo approached Odom to inquire about such accusations,
the NBA star answered by ransacking the man's car, tossing all of his belongings into the street, and then proceeded to club another photographer's car with a metal pole
before putting all of the equipment into his own trunk and driving off. The men filed a police report which was dropped.
14 Russell Brand Bulldozes His Way Through LAX
Russell Brand has made a career for himself by being an outspoken comedian who doesn't shy away from his past troubles and chooses to speak about them quite often eloquently. Despite his over-the-top approach to fashion, entertainment, and overall human conversation, he, like most recovered addicts, is able to typically maintain a level head and well-balanced temperament, but when he married international pop superstar, Katy Perry, he also married the army of blood-thirsty paparazzi that document her every move and all the stress that goes along with them. It came to a head in 2010 when
the couple was fighting a losing battle with photographers to make their flight at LAX when Brand decided that fighting harder was his only option left.
The comedian collided with photographers head on by pushing, shoving, and body-checking the mob out of the way, which could be seen as an act of valor to protect his lady love... unless you were the one photographer who couldn't see at all due to the swelling bruise under his eye. Believe it or not, Brand was held at the airport under citizen's arrest and held with a $20k bail. Think about that the next time you're considering acting up in a long security line.
13 Lindsay Lohan Eggs The Paparazzi On
In 2004, Lindsay Lohan was on top of the world after the release of Mean Girls, and the only thing that could destroy her public image was absolutely everything that occurred in every year following. By 2009, she was in the middle of such a horrendous breakup with then-girlfriend Samantha Ronson, and Lohan became the poster girl for slow-burning celebrity meltdowns. In May of that year, she treated herself to a relaxing night of partying at Chateau Marmont with her little sister before retiring to her gated home. That didn't stop her usual tail of paparazzi to huddle outside the residence in hopes that she'd pop her head out for a quick drunken snapshot for tomorrow's front page, but Lohan, being the clever little minx she is, gave them something very different.
The starlet began launching eggs over the gate in a feeble attempt to (I don't know) maybe make them think they were at the house of a totally rad high school senior.
Regardless of the reasoning, the act only managed to make a mess of her driver's car and give gossip sites material for the next decade.
12 Adam Lambert Does Not Want His Picture Taken
Kris Allen was the winner of American Idol's eighth season who went on to make a handful of boring albums to go along with his bland look that can only be described as "white guy with a face." The runner-up of that season, however, was Adam Lambert, the swoopy-haired crooner with the piercing eyes who went on to have his album debut at number three and collaborate with the likes of P!nk and Lady Gaga. It's that kind of success that drew the attention of photographers on Miami Beach back in 2010. Unfortunately for them,
Lambert was in no mood to have his picture taken (take note of the dark sunglasses and straw sun hat usually reserved for old women and babies) and went to the extent of trying to remove the camera from one photographer's hands.
Unfortunately for Lambert, the man filed a battery claim and threatened the singer with up to a year in jail. "Battery? Nope," Lambert tweeted, "I attempted to grab a camera, no punches were thrown and no one was on the ground...It was literally harmless. If embarrassment is a crime—that's all I'm guilty of."
11 Justin Bieber Needs To Be Restrained
People still love to dismantle Justin Bieber's musical ability because of the way he conducts his personal life, but tell me you wouldn't act like a complete fool if you were 19 years old with $100 million in the bank. I'd bet you'd probably get fed up with a mob of strangers trying to take your picture without asking only to heckle you when you decline. Such was the case in 2013 in the streets of London a day after Bieber collapsed on stage at a concert.
The pop idol was making his way to his car when he was besieged by paparazzi, forcing his bodyguards to push their way through the mess.
If there's one thing we've learned up to this point, it's that even the slightest touch can send the paps into a flurry of assault accusations (which is precisely what happened here) which made Bieber's bodyguards immediately go on record explaining it was very much not assault which the crowd doesn't want to hear, so they start screaming at Bieber to go back to America (that's the G-rated version, by the way). It was the last straw for Bieber who lunges at the photographers bellowing that he's going to "beat the ____ out of them." Eventually, his entourage managed to wrangle him into the car before things could escalate further and the Biebs had to take to Twitter to get the final word: "Ahhhhh! Rough morning," he wrote, "Trying to feel better for this show tonight but let the paps get the best of me... Sometimes when people r shoving cameras in your face all day and yelling the worst thing possible at u...well I'm human. Rough week."
10 Tobey Maguire Can't See Where He's Going
In our modern world where every profitable movie released has the word "avengers" in the title, it's strange to look back on Tobey Maguire's five-year residency as Peter Parker as nothing more than a short stint in a laundry list of placeholders. However, when he was the only man in Hollywood who could truthfully claim to be Spiderman, he was a hot ticket. In this instance, the paps were swarming Maguire's car as he pulled out of parking lot...or tried to at least. Maguire does his best to politely make the photographers aware that they're impairing his driving, and when they don't listen, he tells them louder and then again, louder still. It's difficult to drive down a straight stretch of highway with a light on in the car, so trying to comprehend the aggravation Maguire must have felt with two dozen white bulbs endlessly flashing in his face until his pupils shrink down to the size of pinholes is making me turn down the brightness on my laptop as I type this.
9 Axl Rose Shows Photographers What Heavy Metal Is All About
There are bands in this world that know how to build hype and live up to it. Guns N' Roses used to be one of them. After becoming the biggest band in the world and then losing members due to creative differences, lead singer Axl Rose slowly rebuilt his legendary rock outfit and promised fans what was sure to be his greatest musical creation yet, Chinese Democracy. Fifteen years later, in 2008, the album was finally released to less than favorable reviews. Still, the band hit the road for a tour and was on their way to board a flight at LAX when Rose's lady friend began scuffling with photographers, which prompted the lead singer to prove that chivalry is far from deceased, leaping at the paps fists flying. The footage truly is something to see, especially when you know that Rose made it to his gate in time to comfortably get on the plane with the rest of his boarding group.
8 Gerard Butler Starts Swinging Off Screen
Gerard Butler went from Hollywood leading man to common Hollywood action star in a matter of a few short years. However, if you can remember how cool it was to watch sepia-toned muscles do battle in slow motion, then you remember how cool Butler looked in his career-making role as King Leonidas in 300. After that, Butler was Hollywood's resident tough guy on and off the silver screen. In 2008, after wrapping Guy Ritchie's flashy gangster comedy-drama, Rocknrolla, Butler was being tailed by photographers after leaving a party. Not to be pestered,
Butler pulled his limo over, exited the vehicle, and stormed towards the pap's car
where he continued to bash the poor guy's head in while exclaiming, "You want a picture of me?!" which is a situation that seems far more amusing when you imagine he said that in his 300 voice. The photographer filed a report with Hollywood police but the investigation is still "ongoing."
7 Avril Lavigne Spits Insults And Mucus At Photographers
By the end of 2002, Avril Lavigne had been crowned the undisputed "Pop Punk Princess" after a series of chart-topping hits such as Complicated and Sk8er Boi made using your dad's necktie as a belt a socially understood metaphor for teen angst. By 2006, she had a second album reach number one, she was married to her longtime friend and the only man to always look like he had just lost a fight he started, Sum 41 lead singer, Deryck Wibley, and was subsequently fed up with fame which she demonstrated one evening while exiting a club with the new hubby. The couple managed to wade through photographers and climb into their getaway car only to keep the dispute going by shouting expletives at the paps. Not seeming to get her point across fully, Lavigne then proceeded to lower the back window and fire a thick yellow loogie into the face of one unfortunate photographer before cackling like the wicked witch of the west and dramatically raising the window back up. You could argue the shameless camera-wielding buzzards got what they deserved, but when you're reigning over a global realm of fickle teens, it's important to take a regal stance and do whatever your public relations agent tells you.
Lavigne issued an apology just a few days later
saying, "I'd like to sincerely apologize for my behavior with the paparazzi. It's trying at best dealing with their insistent intrusions. I meant no offense to my fans, whose relationship I truly value. I have and will always go out of my way for my fans. My behavior was a reaction to the persistent attack from the paparazzi."
6 Matthew McConaughey Beach Brawl
Surfers are often viewed as mother nature adoring hippies who are quick to throw a peace sign instead of a punch, but really, they're more like skateboarders in better shape and they'll do whatever they can to protect their turf. In 2008, Malibu Beach local and overall chill bro, Matthew McConaughey, was trying to catch some waves when the paparazzi stormed the beach after receiving word that they'd be able to snap a few photos of the Hollywood hunk without his shirt. However,
before they could get their tripods in the sand, they were met with animosity. Surfers began coming together like a pack of dogs. They literally drew a line in the sand, and once the paps crossed it, the surfers wasted no time in punching and dragging the trespassers into the ocean.
The fight graduates from minor altercation to gang war in a matter of seconds, and even the women are throwing fists. McConaughey never comes out of the water, but $25k worth of camera equipment was destroyed and a photographer had his car windows smashed in. Locals only, bud.
5 Sean Penn Overall
Yes, the above video of Sean Penn laying a flurry of high kicks into the torso and legs of a photographer is the most recent infamous encounter the actor has had with the paparazzi, but his true appearance on this list is due to his renowned encounters over the past several decades. It all began in the late 1980's when the actor was married to pop superstar, Madonna. In fact, he's often regarded as a pioneer in the field of assaulting photographers. He wasted no time when it came to throwing bricks, fists, or spit at anyone aiming a camera at his face or his wife's. And he's passed the gene on to his offspring. His son has been filmed throwing limbs at paps, and the only consequence he's received has been a pat on the back from dear old dad.
4 Mike Tyson Still Has Some Fury Left Inside Of Him
Mike Tyson is the former heavyweight champion of the world. That means he stepped into the ring with opponents built from 200 pounds of muscle with the ability to punch so hard they need to register their fists as lethal weapons and defeated so many of them that he earned the nickname "The Baddest Man on the Planet."
Imagine having the nerve to follow that man around the airport until he charged you because that's exactly what's happening here.
You can see Tyson trying to keep his cool but the anger slowly builds until... here he comes. The photographer keeps his position, and all the more power to him. But the moment Tyson is within grabbing distance, the camera starts to shake and you can hear the man regret his decision.
3 Kanye West Wants The Paps To Be Quiet
Kanye has endured some of the most tumultuous back-and-forth encounters with photographers over the years. He's ran from them. He's stolen their cameras. He's fought them. But this TMZ instance is by far the most entertaining. They've caught Mr. West outside of his home in the wee hours of the morning as
the rapper is attempting to get an early start to his day and boy is he aggravated to see paparazzi waiting for him in the street when he's backing out of his driveway.
Everything West says in this video is reasonable and, in a word, comical. He tells the photographers to "get a respectable profession" after calling them "mosquitos" and speeds off into the darkness.
2 Alec Baldwin Pins Pap Up Against Car
Alec Baldwin is known for being a hothead when it comes to dealing with the paparazzi. He has several incidents on record involving him grabbing, punching, or verbally accosting anyone trying to take his picture without asking. In 2013, only four days after his new wife had given birth to their new baby, Baldwin was photographed in New York City pinning a pap's arm behind his own back before slamming him into a parked car. Reportedly,
the photographer was the one at fault as he was said to be relentlessly chasing Baldwin's wife as well as trying to trip the actor himself.
The reports must have been true because no charges were ever filed against the 30 Rock actor. "People think that I'm out there decking photographers willy nilly," he said and then added, "nothing could be further from the truth."
1 Britney Brings The Pain
It was the tantrum that set sail to a million memes. The year was 2007 and Britney was in a heated custody war with her ex, Kevin Federline. When he threatened to have her drug tested via hair follicle she fought back by giving herself the G.I. Jane special and shaved it all off. Of course,
the paparazzi were there to capture it all and when Spears decided she had endured enough of their constant annoyance she took matters into her own hands.
The singer picked up the first thing she could find (in this case an umbrella) and took out every last bit of anger she had on one unlucky photographer's car before speeding off into a cloud of self-destructive behavior. The attack made for the last memorable photo opportunity of Britney's long career and just last year the umbrella was being auctioned off for $50k. Everyone wins!