Gossip-driven publication TMZ is catching big heat. A new petition is making its rounds online going directly at the popular site overs its insensitive coverage of black families - notably the recent deaths of rap star Pop Smoke and NBA icon Kobe Bryant.
Big Facts: The petition encourages people to sign and pressure advertisers to drop TMZ until a new policy is created centered on its insensitivities toward deceased celebs’ family members.
Dear TMZ founder Harvey Levin,
As the nation’s largest online racial justice organization with 1.7 million members, we are calling on you to change your policy on reporting deaths and issue a public apology for the cruel and irresponsible reporting on the crash that took the life of Kobe Bryant, his daughter, and seven other passengers. No one should learn that a family member has died from a news story. In an effort to be first, your company has proven that driving website views and engagement on the back of Black tragedy is more important that adhering to the ethical rules of journalistic integrity. We are demanding that you issue an apology to the Bryant family and the additional families of those affected by this tragedy, and that you change your policy and process for reporting on deaths to ensure that families have been notified before sharing with the rest of the world. (Color of Change)
High-Key Details: The Color of Change petition also points out TMZ‘s rushed coverage of Pop’s death this week and sharing disturbing footage of the rapper’s body receiving emergency medical attention.
Update (2/19/2020): Bashar Barakah Jackson, professionally known as Pop Smoke, was pronounced dead by celebrity gossip outlet TMZ. Once again, in a rush to break the news, TMZ disregarded the effects its rush news reporting has on surviving family members or fans of the deceased – even releasing footage of paramedics working to resuscitate the 20-year old rapper. TMZ has used Black celebrity deaths as a driver for website clicks and profit far too long. TMZ’s lack of journalistic integrity should have consequences. (Color of Change)
Wait, There’s More: According to reports, a shocking Wednesday morning fatal shooting went down at Pop’s home in California.
Pop Smoke, an up and coming rapper, was shot and killed Wednesday morning in what appears to be a home invasion robbery … TMZ has learned. The rapper was at a home in the Hollywood Hills at around 4:30 AM when 2 men wearing hoodies and masks broke into a house … this according to law enforcement sources. We’re told the 2 men fired multiple shots, striking and critically wounding Pop Smoke. The men were seen fleeing on foot. (TMZ)
Before You Go: Police have attempted to nab at least one suspect.
TMZ reports that no suspects have been apprehended or identified. One man was reportedly placed in handcuffs but was released after police determined he was not involved. It’s unclear if Pop Smoke knew the shooters. (Pop Culture)