A story published Monday examines the relationship between Donald Trump and Harvey Levin’s TMZ gossip empire, including the role TMZ may have played in the 2016 presidential election.
“When the ‘Access Hollywood’ tape of Donald Trump emerged in the home stretch of the 2016 election, it should have been a gift from the tabloid gods for TMZ,” The Daily Beast reports. “Instead, the celebrity gossip website went into overdrive to help Trump.”
“Within a week of the tape’s explosion, TMZ ran ‘exclusive’ after ‘exclusive’ giving Trump cover,” the piece reports. “There was a story that Bill Clinton made ‘disparaging remarks’ about women when he played golf with Trump — as Trump claimed Clinton did when the tape dropped. Another story claimed NBC executives ‘had a plan to time the release’ of the tape to sink Trump. There was also an item from a former Miss Teen USA saying she never had a bad experience with Trump after he was accused of leering at nude girls backstage.”
The piece reports that the coverage was “the result of a cozy relationship between TMZ founder and boss Harvey Levin and Trump, who called each other throughout the campaign, seven sources told The Daily Beast.”
The report quotes a former TMZ staffer who had regular dealings with Levin saying: “There was a point Harvey would make jokes in the newsroom that he would be press secretary or in the Cabinet but we got the impression he was only half joking.”