TMZ has continually faced scrutiny for taking things too far when reporting Black death, including posting graphic photos before the news of the deceased has even had time to settle with family members.
By Monday morning, it was revealed that former Minnesota Vikings and Seattle Seahawks quarterback Tarvaris Jackson died in a car crash at 36 years old and already, TMZ published graphic photos of the crash.
A Tennessee State spokesperson confirmed the news of Jackson’s death to ESPN. Jackson was the Tigers’ quarterback coach in 2019 after a year of acting as quality control and quarterback coach at his alma mater, Alabama State University, an HBCU.
The Alabama Law Enforcement Agency said Jackson was involved in a single-vehicle crash at 8:50 p.m. on Sunday. They report that the 2012 Chevrolet Camaro he was driving left the roadway, hit a tree, then overturned. Jackson was rushed to a local hospital where he was later pronounced dead. He was survived by his wife Lakitta, and three children, Tarvaris, Takayla and Tyson.
Not too long ago, TMZ received backlash for their coverage of Kobe Bryant and his daughter Gianna‘s death in a helicopter crash. Color of Change started a petition, saying “Vanessa Bryant didn’t deserve to find out her husband and child passed on TMZ. While the Bryant family waited for official confirmation of the worst news of their lives, TMZ was all too eager to capitalize on their loss. TMZ had the responsibility to report factual information with integrity and they failed.”
The petition also condemned the outlet for reporting on Brooklyn rapper Pop Smoke‘s death before his family was notified. They were slammed for releasing video footage of paramedics trying to resuscitate the rapper after he was shot.
“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 said.
Although Nipsey Hussle‘s death wasn’t mentioned in the petition, TMZ also released surveillance footage of the rapper’s murder in 2019, showing him being shot several times and also kicked by his killer.
The Color of Change petition went on to mention TMZ falsely reporting that Lil Wayne was in a coma and on life support in 2013. It also criticized TMZ’s reporting of Whitney Houston‘s death, claiming that the outlet “bribed hotel employees into letting him into her room, so he could take photos of the bath tub in which her body was found.”
Color of Change called on advertisers to “drop TMZ until they institute a new policy to consult with families before reporting Black celebrity deaths.”
Meanwhile, celebrities and athletes, such as former teammate Russell Wilson, have posted their condolences on social media regarding Jackson’s death. “TJack… you will be missed,” wrote Wilson in a tweet. “Praying for your family…Love you man.”