The New Yorker publishes story that paints unflattering picture of the founder of the celebrity gossip site
Alec Baldwin did not hold back when asked for his opinion of Harvey Levin for a TMZ exposé that allegedly took two years worth of reporting.
“There was a time when my greatest wish was to stab Harvey Levin with a rusty implement and watch his entrails go running down my forearm, in some Macbethian stance. I wanted him to die in my arms, while looking into my eyes, and I wanted to say to him, ‘Oh, Harvey, you thoughtless little pig,'” the actor told The New Yorker.
Baldwin, who has been the target of numerous TMZ stories, refers to Levin as “a festering boil on the anus of American media.” According to Nicholas Schmidle’s piece, Levin’s gossip empire doesn’t exactly play by the same rules as everyone else.
The piece accuses Levin of paying off drivers, airlines employees, security guards and anyone else if it means a juicy story. Levin even hires reporters with “celebrity connections,” such as the daughter of Paris Hilton‘s attorney.
TMZ once allegedly paid for a compromising Justin Bieber video, but then sat on it to extract friendly exclusives. The same site also makes friends with Los Angeles lawyers, giving them free publicity in hopes of building the relationship.
The revealing story details that TMZ was almost called “Buzz Feed” but ended up paying $5,000 for the tmz.com domain. Now the Hollywood powerhouse is worth hundreds of millions, despite Levin making statements comparing his staff to, “a roomful of handicapped people.”
The New Yorker wrote, “TMZ resembles an intelligence agency as much as a news organization, and it has turned its domain, Los Angeles, into a city of stool pigeons.”
“Everybody rats everybody else out,” Simon Cardoza, a former TMZ cameraman told the New Yorker. “That’s the beauty of TMZ.”
According to the story, 65-year-old Levin is “determined to maintain his youth” and was once addicted to blueberries after Summer Redstone mentioned they were “one of the secrets of his longevity.”
The story says Levin “always appears congenial” on TV but “often turns abrasive and domineering” when the cameras are off. He is painted as a tyrant who will publicly shame his staff at any given moment.
“He used to say, to all of us, ‘My fucking dogs are smarter than you!’ You become like a battered child. He beats you down, but the second you’re about to say, ‘Screw this place,’ he gives you a compliment, and you live for that,” a former assignment-desk producer told The New Yorker.
Schmidle also appeared on “CBS This Morning” on Monday to talk about what he uncovered while investigating TMZ. Watch the video below.