TMZ Facing Backlash for Early Reports on Kobe Bryant’s Death

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Alessandro Demoreno, Staff Writer

TMZ is currently under fire for reporting the death of basketball legend Kobe Bryant and his thirteen-year-old daughter Gianna before the Bryant family could be properly notified. The news source reported his death an hour after police reports of a helicopter crash were made in Calabasas. Police were still in the process of attempting to notify his spouse, Vanessa Bryant, and the rest of his family when TMZ released an article breaking the news. 

This was looked down upon by the basketball community, as TMZ did not wait for the Bryant family to hear the news before finding out with the rest of the world. Sophomore Alex Cockrell said, “I honestly thought it was fake when I first saw it. There should never be an article released before actual reports because it’s very disrespectful to the family.”

Fans, critics, and basketball players have done more than just condemn TMZ. According to CBS8, Will Larkins, a 15-year-old from Florida, has started a petition that calls for TMZ to be taken down. Roughly 500,000 people and counting have signed the petition. 

Some Kobe Bryant fans are more understanding of the situation. Junior Owen Mcnally said, “What they did was wrong, but I understand it’s a business and they just wanted to be first on the story.” 

According to CNN, this was not TMZ’s first reporting of a celebrity’s death. In 2009, they first reported the death of Michael Jackson, and in 2012, they broke the news that Whitney Houston had passed. TMZ was also first to inform the world about Prince’s death in 2016. They are notorious for reporting shocking news and Bryant’s death perpetuates their reputation.