TMZ says they had permission from Kobe’s people to report Bryant had died
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.
Respect to this LA County Sheriff for rightly calling out TMZ. pic.twitter.com/jkj6yGZBDJ
— Karanveer S. Pannu (@KaranveerPannu) January 27, 2020
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:
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
– 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