Such information helps TMZ’s crew of a dozen or so paparazzi know when and where to “drop in on” a celebrity who is transiting through an airport.One day’s list, from June, 2010, included the flight details for Robert Redford and Jack Kevorkian; another one, two months later, had the itineraries of Julius Erving, Kathy Ireland, and Malcolm-Jamal Warner.After guards responded to the incident in the lobby, several surveillance officers gathered and wondered aloud if a tape of Rice and Palmer could be sold to TMZ—the Web site that, since its inception, in 2005, has taken a merciless approach to celebrity news.At around ., one of the surveillance officers, sitting at a monitoring-room computer, reviewed footage from a camera that faced the elevator and, using a cell phone, surreptitiously recorded the screen. It was the middle of the night in Los Angeles, where TMZ is based, so a message was left on the tip line. On September 29, 2015, an internal e-mail summarizing tips from the previous night referred to “info regarding George Clooney’s wedding,” “a video of a pro athlete getting attacked by a goat,” and “pictures of Meek Mill being incarcerated.” (The e-mail is one of many that were leaked to ) The tip line also recorded a claim that a major pop star “wears a fake booty in her music videos” and employs a “person who makes the fake butts.”Many tipsters ask to be paid, and the site often complies.“That’s the beauty of TMZ.”Though Levin has changed the rules for confirming gossip, by insisting on documentary proof, scandal has been chronicled for millennia.
(In a message to a TMZ staff member, the source asked to be paid five thousand dollars.) Russ Weakland, a former TMZ producer, told me that he sometimes negotiated payments with tipsters who were anxious about releasing sensitive information.(In a 2015 e-mail, a TMZ employee asked colleagues if anyone had yet established a source at Uber.) Justin Kaplan, a former production associate at TMZ, recalls meeting a B. The process had been so well honed, Kaplan told me, that “we barely said a word to each other.”At least one employee of Delta Airlines supplies TMZ with the names and itineraries of celebrity passengers travelling through Los Angeles and New York.In an e-mail dated January 29, 2014, a TMZ manager informed her colleagues that the star of an ABC drama had been spotted sitting in first class, in seat 2A, on Delta Flight 1061, from Orlando to Los Angeles, when his plane was rerouted to Dallas—the result of a bomb threat issued on Twitter.the early-morning hours of February 15, 2014, Ray Rice and his fiancée, Janay Palmer, stepped into an elevator at the Revel hotel and casino, in Atlantic City.Palmer and Rice, a running back for the Baltimore Ravens, were arguing as the doors slid shut.We want you to trust us.’ ”On February 19th, four days after the incident at the Revel, TMZ posted a fuzzy clip of Rice dragging Palmer’s limp body from the elevator.