Harvey Levin Defends TMZ Report on Jussie Smollett’s Attack: ‘Never Said I Believed It’


TMZ managing editor Harvey Levin gave an interview to Fox News on Wednesday, during which, he defended his team for their initial reporting on the alleged attack on Empire actor Jussie Smollett.

When TMZ broke the news about Smollett’s assault last month, they carried his claim that his attackers uttered pro-Donald Trump slogans among their alleged racial and homophobic slurs. Smollett’s claims have come under massive scrutiny since then, and the Chicago Police Department wants to interview him again due to recent suspicions that he might’ve staged the incident.

When Levin spoke about these developments to Fox, Bill Hemmer asked him “why did you believe it” when TMZ ran their initial story.

“I didn’t say I believed it,” Levin said. “What we said was ‘this is what Jussie said.’ I never said I believed it. We reported what Jussie said happened.”

Levin continued to justify his report by remarking on how the police said they were treating Smollett as a victim at the time. As Levin talked about how TMZ learned Smollett’s side of the story, he went through the reasons why Smollett’s supposed behavior was a surprise to so many, even as Hemmer and Sandra Smith pressed him to make sense of how the story has played out.

“Do you play back the events in your mind as to how you originally reported this and, perhaps, maybe a sense of apprehension in the future when stories like these cross,” Hemmer asked.

“I would absolutely report that story again,” Levin answered. He went on to say that the problem was with those who might’ve jumped to conclusions on Smollett’s story while it was still developing.

“There are two ways of looking at this: one is are you reporting the story? Of course you are reporting the story. But people who made judgments about the story…that’s where you got a problem, that people jump to conclusions just hearing allegations now. That’s where we are right now in our society. That’s a big problem. That is a big problem and there are a lot of people who did that and now they’re pulling it back. In terms of reporting it, I would do exactly that again.”

Watch above, via Fox News.

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