Fletcher Greene has taken traditional paparazzi methods and applied them to social media, with huge results.
Posted on September 30, 2020, at 2:04 p.m. ET
If you pay attention at all to the mainstream teen TikToker universe, you know about the Hollywood Fix. The YouTube channel with over 1.6 million subscribers is fronted by a man named Fletcher Greene who follows the famous teens around Los Angeles and interviews them on camera.
Greene posts every day, multiple times a day. Sometimes his videos are laughably mundane, other times they feel uncomfortably invasive. Greene will film just about anything, and that attitude has turned the Hollywood Fix into a punchline and meme.
It has also turned his traditional paparazzi job into a successful YouTube channel. Greene no longer has to rely on selling his footage to traditional tabloid outlets like the Daily Mail or Entertainment Tonight. Like other YouTubers, he now has a lot more independent control over his content and revenue.
Greene wouldn’t divulge how much he brings in a month from YouTube, but he told BuzzFeed News that since he began exclusively following TikTok drama at the start of the pandemic, his audience has grown by about 700,000 to 800,000 new subscribers.
Greene, 38, is originally from Dallas but has lived in West Hollywood for most of his adult life. He told BuzzFeed News he fell into the paparazzi business simply by living in a celebrity hot spot. At one point, he lived near actor and influencer Karrueche Tran, who in 2010 was dating Chris Brown.
“You could always tell that [Brown] was always over there because he would always have these neon-colored Lamborghinis parked outside. And I’d be like, Oh, there’s CB over there again,” he said. “One day I took some pictures and I didn’t know what to do with them so I called TMZ … I sold them for a thousand bucks.”
He quickly learned just how lucrative spotting celebrities could be.
“I started bumping into more and more people, so I bought a real camera and started getting better photos,” he said. “I tried to sell a lot of stuff to Daily Mail.”
At one point, Greene was “bumping” into so much luck in the celebrity scene that in 2018 he spotted Brooklyn Beckham making out with a woman when he was supposedly in a relationship with Chloë Grace Moretz. Greene said he sold that photo for about $12,000.
Greene went all in on becoming a full-time paparazzi. But when he realized that a lot of his footage of B- or C-list celebrities (like Christina Milian and Jenna Dewan) was being turned down by tabloid giants, he began posting them to YouTube in 2014. These B- or C-list sightings would gain an audience online, and so Greene began posting more clips of what he couldn’t sell. That’s how the Hollywood Fix was born.
At the start of the pandemic earlier this year, his channel seemed to take a dramatic shift away from capturing traditional celebrities and onto social media celebrities. Over the past few months, the Hollywood Fix has exclusively pivoted to TikTok stars. Greene said this wasn’t a calculated move as much as it was a consequence of COVID-19.
“When you scroll through [my feed] over the years, it’s all mainstream celebrities like Jennifer Garner or Hilary Duff,” he said. “But when COVID hit, these guys left town and just disappeared. All the celebrities just dried out. I’d go out and work an eight-hour shift and come home with an empty memory chip.”
He said it seemed like the only notable people in Los Angeles who were still in town and out and about were influencers and TikTokers.
“I said, Let me shoot kids that have millions of fans on TikTok and let me see how it’ll do,” he said. “It just blew up. It’s almost like following a high school drama but in real life.”
One example of that came in July, when news broke that Charli D’Amelio, the most followed teen on the app, had discovered her ex Chase Hudson had hooked up with Nessa Barrett, another famous TikTok teen. Barrett’s ex is Josh Richards, who’s a part of a TikTok house that’s a rival to Hudson’s. Still following? The drama was thrilling and frivolous, and played out in real time online as people were cooped up in quarantine. Greene, as the Hollywood Fix, was there to capture the fallout.
One of his videos posted on July 7 about the rival TikTok house confronting Hudson has been viewed over 4.8 million times. Subsequent videos of Greene asking D’Amelio and the other teens involved about the drama have gone as viral.
Greene said he’s “working almost every single day” reading up on TikTokers’ latest antics and then hunting them down for on-camera pestering. According to Greene, spotting them is a lot easier than you think.
“There are a lot of hot spots of where they go out,” he said. “And in a lot of places, you can just physically see them, especially since restaurants have moved things outdoors. … They’ll go out at Saddle Ranch and they’ll get hammered drunk and start dancing on the tables and cheating on their girlfriends.”
Most of the time Greene said he gets DMs and texts from other people who spot them and tip him off. Despite his success, the work is grueling and unglamorous.
“Sometimes it gets exhausting when these guys are out ’til 2 or 3 in the morning, and when that’s over, I come home and I have tons of media that has to be processed and labeled and watermarked and edited,” he said. “I might be up ’til 7 a.m. some days.”
He also faces the same ethical quandaries of the traditional paparazzi industry.
Some fans have raised issues over videos they say seem to push privacy boundaries. Earlier this month, Greene filmed Barrett breaking down in tears while at dinner with her friends and her ex, Richards.
The YouTube video has been watched over 1.2 million times already, but a majority of the comments are critical. People thought Greene took professional voyeurism too far.
“This man literally has no limits like wth she’s crying don’t film her,” a top comment read. “Bruh she can’t eat or cry or drink without you filming her,” wrote another.
When BuzzFeed News asked Greene about these concerns, and where he draws the line, he said he sticks to standard paparazzi rules.
“There’s physical boundaries, like [I] only shoot in public areas that are on public property,” he said. “You don’t ever go onto someone’s private property.”
“Saddle Ranch is on the Sunset Strip and it’s a tourist attraction — it’d be like going to Hollywood Boulevard and being like, ‘I don’t want to be seen here,'” he said in defense of filming Barrett that day. “When you’re in that public of an area, that’s what’s happening. I myself didn’t make her cry. … That’s just what happened and I documented it.”
“There are tons of people filming. … There are guys chasing me around and trying to figure out who these people are,” he added.
Greene, however, implied that if Barrett or another TikToker ever asked him to take down a video, or stop filming, he’d work with them. His business depends on them, after all.
“I saw [Barrett] again literally the next night and the night after that, and she was totally fine. We were laughing,” he said. “If it were that much of an issue, she could have just messaged me or talked to me off camera.”
“I always try to be respectful. If there’s anything that’s too bad, they could be like, ‘I don’t want to talk about it … cut this part.’ In one instance, [a TikToker] had just broken up with this girl and it had only been days. He was really into her and she friend-zoned him, so when I asked him about it he got a little emotional … and in the middle of the interview he said, ‘Can you please not post this?’ If the interview goes south, I’m like, Just forget about it.“