Marion Barry‘s death was announced yesterday morning and while many honored the life lost, it seems TMZ thought it would be a good idea to make a joke of his death.
Barry passed away during the morning hours of November 24, 2014 and When the popular gossip site announced his death, they posted a controversial headline, which reads: “Marion Barry — Crack Mayor Dead At 78.”
Many took offense to the statement, referring to it as disrespectful and crass and hit the net to demand that TMZ change the offensive headline.
Marion Barry’s life was controversial at times, but he made a huge impact in DC.
Former Washington D.C. mayor Marion Barry — who became nationally famous after an epic cocaine bust that did not derail his career — died Sunday morning at 78.
Barry served 4 terms as Mayor, but his defining moment for most people is what he did in a hotel room during his tenure … smoking crack with a young woman, and as FBI barged in the room screaming, “She set me up!”
Barry — who was a folk hero in D.C. — became the butt of jokes and almost a staple punchline on shows like “SNL.”
But after serving time for drug possession, he became mayor once again.
Barry became a paradigm of politicians … how they could do wrong, yet still remain popular with the electorate.
Barry did not die from anything having to do with drugs and TMZ referring to him as a ‘Crack Mayor’ sparked online outrage and many even reached out to the organization to demand an apology.
Outrage turned into disgust as it was revealed that TMZ had reported a known drug overdose death with dignity.
TheGrio.com compared TMZ’s reporting of Heath Ledgers death to that of Barry, revealing the clear racial bias in their reporting:
Barry, unlike Ledger, did not die from an overdose but instead was plagued by prostate cancer and diabetes in his late age. The 78-year-old four-term mayor and three-term councilman also received a liver transplant in 2009, which may have been a factor in his death.
While Barry, nicknamed “Mayor For Life,” did have a well-publicized battle with substance abuse, that represented just one element of his legacy. Many supporters of Barry have taken the day to remember his early efforts in the civil rights movement and his dedication to lifting people from poverty.
A Change.org petition has been started demanding that TMZ remove the distasteful headline and issue an apology.
We want his legacy to be honored the right way. Show respect to his family friends and supporters.
The petition has so far garnered over 10,000 signatures. You can also sign by CLICKING HERE.
My thought on the matter is this: TMZ isn’t CNN. It’s not a ‘news’ site, it’s a gossip site and while many of y’all hold them to a higher standard, at the end of the day, they are built on controversy and this ‘Crack Mayor’ headline is doing nothing but earning them more traffic.
Do you honestly expect them to change the way they do business now, after all of this time? Hell… this is probably their best week ever!
For the record, I’m totally disgusted by the headline and I also feel that it crossed a line, but they cross lines every day. The ‘crack mayor’ statement isn’t the first of it’s kind over there and won’t be the last.
In my opinion, demanding an apology is a complete waste of time. If you don’t like what’s on a gossip site, don’t visit it. Period. But that’s actually anti-intuitive, being that most people who get pissed about something on the web, ‘return to the scene of the crime’… often. But I digress.
If you feel strongly about the matter, it’s simple don’t go back there. But that’s way too easy, huh?
*Steps off soapbox* 😉