Kobe Bryant and his 13-year-old daughter Gianna tragically lost their lives as the helicopter they were travelling on crashed at a hill in Los Angeles and their death sent shockwaves around the world. In the midst of 'we are the first to report' frenzy, several news outlets went ahead sensationalizing the chopper crash showing little or no mercy towards their family members, fans and well-wishers.
Law enforcement officials lashed out at TMZ for being ''merciless'' in their reporting on Kobe Bryant's death and they had a hard time reaching the crash spot as their reporters were running behind the officers asking them questions about the helicopter crash.
TMZ's conduct was extremely disrespectful, says Los Angeles police
During a press conference, Los Angeles County Sheriff, Alex Villanueva, lashed out at the scandalous celebrity website TMZ for hounding law enforcement officers to confirm that it was indeed Kobe Bryant who died, while officers were yet to confirm the identities of those who were deceased.
"It would be extremely disrespectful to understand that your loved one perished and you learn about it from TMZ. That is just wholly inappropriate."
Right after the press conference, his deputy Tim Murakami tweeted that he too was saddened by TMZ's conduct and the frenzy about 'breaking news' has got the worst of them. "I am saddened that I was gathering facts as a media outlet reported 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."
TMZ has a merciless approach to break news first, says top entertainment journalist
Hollywood entertainment journalist and producer Simon Thompson, shed some light on how TMZ approaches their breaking news segment and stated that they've always had a 'merciless approach' with little or no contempt for the individual's loved ones. He also revealed that the website has a large network of news gatherers and sources unconfirmed reports claim they include airport officials, limo drivers, court officials among others.
"TMZ effectively when it comes to entertainment news that is headline-breaking, like the Kobe story, they run this town. They have people everywhere.'' Reports claim that the outlet pays tipsters thousands of dollars for getting inside gossips and the New Yorker had called their practice a "merciless approach to celebrity news."
The founder of TMZ, Harvey Levin once said to Fox News in 2014 that there was "nothing wrong" in paying sources for surveillance camera footage or photos. "The video is still the video. So who cares whether you pay money for it?" he said.