NEWSFLASH! TMZ has fired Van Lathan after an argument with another TMZ staffer reportedly escalated to verbal threats.
Lathan, a veteran reporter known to casual TMZ watchers as “the black guy on TMZ” was given the boot after he got into a nasty confrontation with fellow reporter, Michael Babcock on air.
PageSix broke the news earlier today that Van Lathan was been fired from the popular gossip site after he and fellow “TMZ Live” star, Michael Babcock got into a vicious verbal spar on-air about a week ago.
The on-air face-off has been edited out, we’re told, but sources say they were sparring over politics, which has increasingly come between them. Lathan famously went head-to-head with Kanye West last year over the rapper’s claims that slavery was “a choice.” Meanwhile, we’re told Babcock leans to the right.
Sources say that Lathan confronted Babcock in the newsroom after the segment and told him there would be trouble if he “ever embarrassed [Lathan] like that again.” Insiders say Lathan met with the site’s attorneys and he was suspended. He was dismissed a few days later, we’re told.
Lathan has been “a huge part” of the success of TMZ over the past few years and sources say that many are stunned that he was fired over the incident.
PageSix reports that Lathan declined to comment without speaking to an attorney, and that Babcock “hung up on us.” They also note that TMZ has not issued a statement.
For the record, Lathan’s sister hit the net earlier today to report that her brother would be just fine.
Following his sister’s posts, Lathan hit the net with a short response of his own: