‘We got this wrong’: TMZ offers rare apology to T.I. for story on sister’s autopsy results

TMZ is the cornerstone of celebrity gossip, literally standing for the “thirty-mile zone,” a reference to Hollywood’s historic “studio zone.” But the media outlet reaches far beyond that, covering stars’ most intimate details unapologetically from coast to coast.  

Until now. 

In a rare move, TMZ issued a public apology to T.I. for publishing his sister’s cause of death after the Atlanta rapper blasted the gossip outlet for “profiting off of people’s pain.”

His older sister, Precious Harris Chapman, 66, died in Atlanta in February following a car accident that was triggered by an asthma attack. Her toxicology results were released by the Fulton County Medical Examiner Thursday and reported by TMZ. 

Rapper T.I. (Photo: Charles Sykes/Invision/AP)

T.I. took to social media shortly afterward in an NSFW Instagram Live to slam TMZ’s managing editor, Harvey Levin, for tarnishing his sister’s legacy. He called for a boycott of the outlet. 

“As long as you’ve known me, Harvey, I’ve been respectful, I’ve been cordial, I been polite, I been kind, I been fair. You just burned that bridge,” the rapper said. “I hope your story was worth it. You just burned a bridge. To not just me, but everybody around me. All my family. Anybody who stand with me, anybody who stood with Precious … will not stand with you.”

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TMZ published a retraction, calling their article and past headline “inappropriate and wrong.” They apologized to T.I. and the Harris family in an unprecedented response. 

“Earlier Thursday, we posted a story about T.I.’s sister, Precious Harris Chapman, and reported the Medical Examiner’s official findings on her cause of death … we were wrong to do it,” TMZ said. “T.I. and his family are hurt and furious, and they have a point.”

The media outlet went on to highlight Precious’ legacy and contributions to the community, including her work with the organizations Saving Our Daughters, Hosea Feed the Hungry and her own early education initiative, The Precious Academy.

TMZ concluded: “We got this wrong and we regret posting the M.E.’s findings.”

USA TODAY has reached out to T.I.’s rep for comment. 

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