Death in any capacity is hard to deal with, but imagine finding out a loved one was deceased via the news before authorities got the chance to notify your family—it’s that feeling that prompted Color of Change to call for the boycott TMZ over how they handle the death of Black celebrities.
The nonprofit civil rights advocacy group is circulating a petition asking that advertisers pull support from TMZ until the outlet agrees to consult with Black families before reporting on celebrity deaths. Color of Change started the petition last month after the site allegedly mishandled the reporting of the death of NBA legend Kobe Bryant.
“Basketball legend Kobe Bryant and his daughter Gianna died in a horrific helicopter crash, and TMZ LEAKED the news before the authorities were even able to notify the family,” the initial petition reads. “That means that Vanessa Bryant found out about the death of her husband and child through TMZ, tweets, or comments.”
In January, the outlet broke the news that Bryant died in a helicopter crash before police could inform Bryant’s family of the tragedy. Yesterday the petition was updated after 20-year old rapper Pop Smoke, whose real name was Bashar Barakah Jackson, was killed in Hollywood Hills and TMZ once again broke the news before his family learned of his death.
“Once again, in a rush to break the news, TMZ disregarded the effects its rush news reporting has on surviving family members or fans of the deceased— even releasing footage of paramedics working to resuscitate the 20-year old rapper,” the petition states. “TMZ has used Black celebrity deaths as a driver for website clicks and profit far too long. TMZ’s lack of journalistic integrity should have consequences.”
The site goes on to chastise the TMZ for its insensitive manner of breaking the death of Black and Brown celebrities callously, while treating the death of their white counterparts with fragility.
”We must act to hold TMZ accountable for exploiting the Black and Brown victims of this tragedy for their fame, and in the process denying a Black and Brown family in mourning the respect they deserve.”
To sign the petition, click here. Let us know if you agree or disagree in the comments.