TMZ Expose Hits The Web, But Is It Really Surprising Or Damaging?

An exposé on the celebrity empire TMZ has been in the works for more than a year. Last summer, THR revealed that TMZ was about to get a taste of its own medicine.

“TMZ honcho Harvey Levin has built a mini-empire on his hyper-aggressive approach to the most mundane of celebrity news, breaking significant national stories in the process. But now Levin and his Los Angeles-based enterprise are getting the harsh media spotlight turned on them — and Harvey’s not happy about it.”

THR added that sources told them the New Yorker was finalizing its own aggressive exposé about the questionable reporting tactics of the Warner Bros.-owned TMZ and Levin himself. The months went on and there was no exposé. However, Nicholas Schmidle, an award-winning author, finally released his big story about the gossip empire on Monday.

Many people think the article is well-written, but not the type of exposé that would bring the site down. Then again, there are people who don’t want to bring TMZ down since it presents the best of celebrity dirt that is, for the most part, true.

Ray Rice Elevator

How does Harvey Levin get such scoops? Why, he pays for them, of course. Although this was once considered unethical, it’s something Levin has not denied. The New Yorker was very descriptive about the Ray Rice incident, which left his wife unconscious on an elevator floor.

“On February 19th, four days after the incident at the Revel, TMZ posted a fuzzy clip of Rice dragging Palmer’s limp body from the elevator. (According to a former TMZ photographer, the site paid fifteen thousand dollars. TMZ would not discuss payments, or other internal matters, but called this figure overblown.)”

That incident was one of the biggest scandals of 2014. Another big scandal was the release of a video tape that had Justin Bieber making racist jokes. TMZ was not the first to release that video, but could have been. Let’s just say that, according to the article, they worked out a little deal.

It was January of 2011 when an anonymous caller offered to sell the video of Justin Bieber sitting alone in a room and using the “N” world and making other slurs that would normally kill any other star’s career. Instead of publishing the tape, Levin made a deal with Bieber’s management that he wouldn’t publish it as long as TMZ received other “exclusives” on Bieber.

Alec Baldwin Scandal

The New Yorker also reveals just how much Alec Baldwin hates TMZ and Harvey Levin after they published an audio tape of Baldwin mouthing off to his daughter Dakota and even calling her a pig.

“There was a time when my greatest wish was to stab Harvey Levin with a rusty implement and watch his entrails go running down my forearm, in some Macbethian stance. I wanted him to die in my arms, while looking into my eyes, and I wanted to say to him, ‘Oh, Harvey, you thoughtless little pig.’” Baldwin revealed in the article.

Some other revelations are that Harvey Levin didn’t like when Ellen DeGeneres accused him of outing celebrities (he never did and wouldn’t even accept a gift basket apology), TMZ was almost called Buzz Feed and that Harvey Levin’s chiropractor runs TMZ‘s popular celebrity bus tours.

Some may consider the article a letdown. However, author Nicholas Schmidle never really said it would be truly dirty and, perhaps, the media just blew it out of proportion. It’s expected Harvey Levin and TMZ will thrive just as long as there is an audience for celebrity dirt.

[Photo by Charley Gallay/Getty Images]