L.A. Sheriff Blasts TMZ For Reporting Kobe Bryant’s Death Before Family Could Be Notified
Los Angeles law enforcement officials criticized celebrity news outlet TMZ for reporting about the death of Kobe Bryant and his 13-year-old daughter in a helicopter crash before authorities had time to notify members of his family.
Los Angeles County Sheriff Alex Villanueva said it was “wholly inappropriate” for TMZ not to wait.
“It would be extremely disrespectful to understand that your loved one … perished and you learn about it from TMZ,” he said at a press conference. “That is just wholly inappropriate.”
Los Angeles County Undersheriff Tim Murakami echoed that sentiment on Sunday, saying he was “saddened that I was gathering facts as a media outlet reported that 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,” he wrote on Twitter. “Breaks my heart.”
I am saddened that I was gathering facts as a media outlet reported the 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
— Undersheriff Tim Murakami (@LASDMurakami) January 26, 2020
The Hollywood Reporter editorial director Matthew Belloni said on CNN that TMZ has an “in” with “the kinds of people who know this information.”
“If TMZ reports that a celebrity has died in Los Angeles County, it is almost always correct. For whatever reason, and you can read into this, their accuracy rate in Los Angeles is very, very good,” he said.
TMZ was the first to report the death of Michael Jackson in 2009, Whitney Houston’s death in 2009 and the death of musician Prince three years ago.