41-year-old Kobe Bryant, his 13-year-old daughter Gianna were among the nine people who died yesterday when his private helicopter crashed in Calabasas CA. Of course this news was fast-spreading and people were getting so much shit wrong in the confusion, some even reporting more members of Kobe’s family died. One source of info which seemed to be on the mark facts-wise, was TMZ, who broke the story. They broke it so fast, in fact, that the police weren’t able to even notify Kobe’s family before TMZ could notify Twitter. And they’re pissed about it.
CNN says that TMZ was the original source of the tragic helicopter crash in California yesterday, scooping all other outlets at around two in the afternoon EST. Well, that was so fast that even the police were not ready for it, since they hadn’t even notified the families of the victims.
Police say a little more than an hour after they received reports of the crash, TMZ was already telling the world that Kobe died in it. Meanwhile, officers were still “seeking to notify the family members of victims.” At a press conference about it, the Los Angeles County Sheriff Alex Villanueva dragged TMZ for talking about who died because the LA police were not ready to confirm any identities:
“It would be extremely disrespectful to understand that your loved one… perished and you learn about it from TMZ. That is just wholly inappropriate.”
Los Angeles County Undersheriff Tim Murakami also jabbed TMZ in a tweet:
I am saddened that I was gathering facts as a media outlet reported the Kobe had passed. I understand getting the scoop but please allow us time to make personal notifications to their loved ones. It’s very cold to hear of the loss via media Breaks my heart
— Undersheriff Tim Murakami (@LASDMurakami) January 26, 2020
CNN asked TMZ for a response, but didn’t get one. By the way, CNN is owned by WarnerMedia which also owns TMZ.
It should be noted that TMZ also scooped Michael Jackson’s death in 2009, and Whitney Houston in 2012. AND Prince in 2016. So if you’re wondering if TMZ are celebrity murderers, the editorial director of The Hollywood Reporter, Matthew Belloni, says they aren’t. They’re just very well connected.
“When it comes to high-profile people, they have an “in” with the kinds of people who know this information… If TMZ reports that a celebrity has died in Los Angeles County, it is almost always correct. For whatever reason, and you can read into this, their accuracy rate in Los Angeles is very, very good… We always verify and don’t take them at face value. But when I saw that it was TMZ reporting a death in Los Angeles County of a very prominent person, I thought it’s probably right.”
So if officials in L.A. want to find out which employees are leaking info to TMZ, they just need to eavesdrop on conversations involving a morally corrupt police officer or paramedic or firefighter letting their contractor know to go ahead and use the Carrara marble in their kitchen renovation.