Few can deny how accurate TMZ is when it comes to their reporting of the going on’s within pop culture. They are usually the first to cover events, breaking news and hot topics on those who many fans want to learn about.
However, recently their fast publishing has caused much trauma as they posted pictures of Whitney after she was dead in the tub for all to see, reported basketball player Kobe Bryant’s death before his wife knew it and seeming reported Pop Smoke’s death before his mother was aware of his transition.
To that point, Color of Change has started a petition asking for advertisers to pull money from the tabloid show for how they cover Black celebrity death. The petition reads as follows:
“SIGN THE PETITION: Demand advertisers drop TMZ until they institute a new policy to consult with families before reporting Black celebrity deaths.
Vanessa Bryant didn’t deserve to find out her husband and child passed on TMZ. While the Bryant family waited for official confirmation of the worst news of their lives, TMZ was all too eager to capitalize on their loss. TMZ had the responsibility to report factual information with integrity and they failed to that.
Sunday afternoon, in a rush to break the news that basketball legend Kobe Bryant, at the age of 41, died in a California helicopter crash along with his 13-year-old daughter Gianna, celebrity gossip website TMZ ran the story before his surviving family was notified by authorities.
Celebrity gossip website TMZ has built a company based on gossip, and reaped the benefits of Black trauma, while blurring the lines between factual journalism and knee-jerk clickbait. In 2013, after Andre Lowe was murdered the website rushed to post the video of his murder despite his family asking them not to post it. Also in 2013, TMZ made false claims that rapper Lil Wayne was in a coma and on life support. When Whitney Houston died of an overdose in 2012, a TMZ reporter bribed hotel employees into letting him into her room, so he could take photos of the bathtub in which her body was found. These moments featured Black pain that drove millions to a TMZ website that has approximately 500 million advertising impressions per month, resulting in over 100 million dollars in company value as of 2010.
We must act to hold TMZ accountable for exploiting the Black and Brown victims of this tragedy for their fame, and in the process denying a Black and Brown family in mourning the respect they deserve.”
Attached to the petition is a letter to Harvey Levin’s himself.
To sign the petition please click here.