A yearlong investigation into TMZ’s aggressive and unorthodox reporting tactics is turning the tables on the celebrity news and gossip site, and has founder and managing editor Harvey Levin nervous.
According to the Hollywood Reporter, The New Yorker magazine’s award-nominated writer Nicholas Schmidle is finalizing an extensive exposé over TMZ, which was founded by Levin in 2005 and is owned by Warner Bros.
Due to the magazine’s investigative history and willingness to take on other media outlets, and Schmidle’s personal resume, sources tell THR a nervous Levin has been warning present and former employees not to speak to Schmidle, but some did anyway.
Schmidle previously covered the hunt for Osama bin Laden, a Russian arms trafficker, and war crimes in Kosovo.
Those sources also told THR others close to the site in the Los Angeles area have spoken to The New Yorker for the investigation, and Warner Bros. is “anxiously awaiting a call from the magazine’s fact-checkers.”
It’s unclear if the investigation has revealed any illegal tactics used by TMZ, but Levin, who is also an attorney, is very good at obtaining sensitive information and documents, which some say TMZ pays big bucks for.
Since launching in 2005, TMZ has changed the way celerity news is both gathered and reported, but Levin’s brand has also been accused of shoddy journalism and sensationalism, despite breaking some of the biggest entertainment stories of the decade.
A representative for The New Yorker did not respond to questions about the upcoming story, telling THR, “We don’t comment on pieces we haven’t published.”
Levin, now 64, has also not commented on the investigation.