Ellen Pompeo Fiercely Calls Out TMZ & Harvey Levin For Breaking Kobe Bryant News

PHoto: John Salangsang/Variety/Shutterstock.
Early Sunday afternoon, tabloid news website TMZ shared one of its most shocking headlines ever, announcing the sudden death of NBA icon Kobe Bryant. Bryant, aged 41, was one of nine people killed in a helicopter accident in Calabasas, California. His 13-year-old daughter Gianna Marie also passed away in the crash.
TMZ was the first outlet to break the story, but the site’s eagerness to be in the lead regarding the tragic accident came at a serious price — most of the victims’ families had to find out the news from their social media timelines.
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What followed TMZ’s story was a flurry of questionable journalistic practices across the industry, with many outlets rushing to be among the first to identify the helicopter’s passengers. Some incorrectly posited that all four of Bryant’s daughters had been inside the aircraft with him, while others reported that former Los Angeles Laker Rick Fox had also been lost in the accident. 
People were understandably enraged at the shoddy reporting, wondering how TMZ and the other news stations could handle this news without the care and sensitivity that it required. Grey’s Anatomy star Ellen Pompeo was among the furious masses, taking to Twitter to rebuke the outlet (and its founder Harvey Levin) for its carelessness. 
“I wonder why police departments give @HarveyLevinTMZ all this sensitive info ?” Pompeo questioned yesterday.  “I wonder why @HarveyLevinTMZ puts out photos of women who have been attacked or assaulted. ...Who were victims ?  Exploiting women who have been abused... why is this guy still in business at all?”
“If we are not tolerating abuse anymore... shouldn’t we be calling this out?” she continued in the thread. “Exploiting the brutal sudden death of peoples loved ones  is certainly emotional abuse... I call times up on his behaviour.”
Fans of the actress swarmed her mentions with their opinions on TMZ’s reporting of the news, pointing out that the outlet wouldn’t have the information if the on-site first responders had not provided it. Others shifted the blame onto law enforcement, wondering why the authorities hadn't informed the victims' families sooner. "We need to be blaming law enforcement," one user said. "Why can TMZ confirm something faster than law enforcement?"
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Pompeo was quick to defend the first responders, citing her personal experience with them as a reason not to pass the blame onto them. From her perspective, Levin and the "white male privilege" that he flexes to gather information for the site are the problem.
"He has built an Empire on making a lot of the lapd and sheriffs his friends.... that’s why he gets all the info," tweeted Pompeo. "He gets every story first why do you think that is?"
On her timeline, Pompeo said that she was posing her questions as a means of "[provoking] thought" about the state of the media landscape. "What is the purpose of this kind of media?" she questioned on Twitter.
In response to the wave of criticism that TMZ received regarding the helicopter crash from people like Pompeo, Levin maintains that he was given the go-ahead from Bryant's reps before making the news public. "We were dealing with them for an hour before we published the story and they said, ‘Go for it,'” Levin told a local L.A. radio station.
He also claimed that TMZ had been told that Bryant's wife Vanessa was already made aware of the crash but admitted that the other victims' loved ones may have not been notified prior to the story going public.
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