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Monday, March 30, 2020

TMZ says they had permission from Kobe’s people to report Bryant had died

Kobe Bryant

TMZ has been a target for criticism ever since being first to report on Sunday morning that Kobe Bryant had died. There are standards for proper decorum in journalism dictating that the media should not be the ones to break news of a death to the deceased’s family, and that families and loved ones should not find out about a death through the media.

Some took aim at TMZ for releasing news of Kobe’s death, believing that the outlet violated these standards. Even Los Angeles County Sheriff Alex Villanueva seemed to wag his finger at TMZ, saying his department would take precaution before releasing the identity of victims because he did not want families learning about deaths through TMZ.

Villanueva’s point made complete sense, but some interpreted his words to mean that TMZ had violated this standard in reporting the Kobe news.

TMZ founder Harvey Levin says that’s not the case.

Levin joined KNX In Depth and said that his organization had permission from Bryant’s “people” to release the news.

“We dealt with Kobe’s people for an hour before we published this story, and we were told very clearly that she had been notified, number one. I got the tip initially from law enforcement from a source that I’ve had for years,” Levin said.

Levin was likely talking about Kobe’s wife Vanessa when saying “she.”

“We talked to Kobe’s people, and we were dealing with them for an hour before we published the story, and they said ‘go for it.’ They all knew, and they said go for it, and they said she knew.”

Someone brought up the issue that there were other people aboard the helicopter who also died and asked whether TMZ knew those families had learned about the deaths first. Levin called that a fair criticism, but then turned the tables and asked KNX whether they would have sat on news of Kobe Bryant’s death for eight hours until authorities released the names of the victims. The hosts acknowledged that would be a difficult question.

But to answer a question that some were asking, according to Levin, no, Vanessa Bryant did not first hear about Kobe’s death through TMZ.

More Larry Brown Sports coverage of Kobe Bryant’s death:

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Other victims of the helicopter crash:
John Altobelli, junior college baseball coach, also died in helicopter crash
Christina Mauser, girls’ basketball coach, among the helicopter crash victims
Sarah Chester, daughter Payton were also killed in Kobe Bryant helicopter crash
Ara Zobayan was the pilot in Kobe Bryant helicopter crash

Tributes to Kobe:
NBA players changing jersey numbers in honor of Kobe Bryant
Bill Belichick shares touching anecdote in tribute to Kobe Bryant
UConn honors Gianna Bryant with own jersey, spot on the bench
Video: Shaq gets emotional talking about Kobe Bryant on TNT
Dallas Mavericks retire Kobe Bryant’s No. 24 jersey
Video: Raptors, Spurs start game with amazing tribute to Kobe Bryant
Shaq posts heartfelt tribute to Kobe Bryant
Michael Jordan releases statement on death of ‘little brother’ Kobe Bryant
Video: Doc Rivers breaks down crying talking about Kobe Bryant
Phil Jackson calls Kobe Bryant ‘a chosen one’ in statement on his death
NBA commissioner Adam Silver issues statement on death of Kobe Bryant
Video: Dwyane Wade posts emotional message reacting to Kobe Bryant’s death
Kendrick Perkins extends olive branch to Kevin Durant after Kobe Bryant’s death
Gilbert Arenas vows to begin coaching career like Kobe Bryant urged him to
Video: Emotional Mike Breen sums up NBA world’s emotions about Kobe Bryant’s death
Trae Young’s huge game was full of Kobe Bryant-related statistical coincidences

More coverage:
Investigators release chilling drone footage from Kobe Bryant helicopter crash site
Video: Kobe Bryant helicopter audio released
Media errors, rumors, poor judgment run rampant in reporting of Kobe Bryant news
TMZ says they had permission from Kobe’s people to report Bryant had died
NBA postpones Tuesday’s Lakers-Clippers game after Kobe Bryant’s death
Kobe Bryant recently filed for ‘Mambacita’ trademark for daughter Gianna
Kobe Bryant checked in on Shaq’s son Shareef morning of helicopter crash
No, Rick Fox did not die in helicopter crash that killed Kobe, Gianna Bryant
Lakers fans start memorial to Kobe Bryant outside Staples Center
Kobe Bryant’s last tweet was congratulating LeBron James on passing him
Sports world stunned over Kobe Bryant news
Kobe Bryant dies in helicopter crash – dead at 41

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