Ellen Pompeo Calls Out TMZ For Allegedly Breaking Kobe Bryant News Before Families Were Told
TMZ was the first to break the tragic news that basketball legend Kobe Bryant, his 13-year-old daughter Gianna, and seven others were killed in a helicopter crash in Calabasas on Sunday,
'Grey's Anatomy' star Ellen Pompeo has expressed her anger over TMZ's handling of the tragic event after the publication reported on the crash before officials were able to locate and alert family members of the deceased.
Tagging founder Harvey Levin in a Tweet on Wednesday, the actress wrote, "So many people's lives will never be the same after this tragedy... but you got your scoop. Hope you sleep well at night @HarveyLevinTMZ I’m sure you do..."
Fans praised the star for calling out Levin, with one fan labelling the website's reporting as "sickening".
"He's getting all this info and sharing it, exploiting people's pain in order to promote himself. it's even more sickening that people are giving him clicks and treating him as a journalist and giving him credibility to keep disrespecting everything & everyone," they said.
Another expressed their heartbreak for the families involved that may or may not have discovered the loss of their loved ones through the media rather than police, saying, "My first thought is his daughter likely found out her dad had died on social media before the family were told."
They continued, "A mother found out her child had died before she could be told in private. V found out her husband and father to her children had died via TV or social. Disgusting".
It has not yet been confirmed whether or not Bryant's widow Vanessa discovered that her husband and daughter had died in the crash via the website.
Pompeo isn't the only one taking aim at TMZ and Levin, with the website drawing ire from the Los Angeles Police Department, who chastised it during an official press conference for reporting the news before officials were able to alert family members.
"There is wide speculation who the identities [of the crash victims] are," Los Angeles County Sheriff Alex Villanueva said during the conference. "It is entirely inappropriate right now to identify anyone by name until the coroner has made the identifications through their deliberate process and made notifications to next of kin."
"It would be extremely disrespectful to understand that your loved one has perished and you learn about it from TMZ," Villanueva continued, adding that TMZ's habit of publishing victims' names as "just wholly inappropriate."
Kobe, Gianna, and the seven other passengers were on their way to a basketball game when the chopper went down over the hills of Calabasas. The helicopter was flying in foggy conditions considered dangerous enough that police had grounded their choppers.