January 22, 2013
TMZ's Graphic, Controversial Murder Video Posting Spurs Ad-Sponsor Exodus: Dozens of Brands --- Including Chase, Toyota, Zappos and Hanes --- Drop Ads From Celeb-Gossip Site
Advertisements from 25 brands — including Chase, Toyota and H&R Block — have reportedly been removed from a page featuring video footage of 19-year-old Andre Lowe's brutal murder on celebrity-gossip site TMZ following a storm of online outrage. Lowe's family has been publicly demanding that TMZ remove the video for the past week, attracting over 200,000 people to sign a popular petition on Change.org started by Andre's uncle, Jason Andrews.
Advertisements began disappearing from the video page after petition signers took to Twitter over the weekend, asking dozens of brands to drop their support for TMZ.
"We want to thank the companies that have stopped paying TMZ to turn Andre's death into a spectacle," said Andrews. "Andre wasn't a celebrity like TMZ usually covers. He was just a young student eager to pursue his love of music. It's been traumatic to our family to see TMZ treat his tragic murder as entertainment," he added, according to a press release from Change.org.
Lowe was reportedly shot and killed early in the morning on Sunday, January 13, after a fight that began inside a nightclub in Los Angeles and spilled into the streets outside. Lowe's family says that TMZ posted video of Andre being shot and lying on the pavement even before they received word from the hospital about whether Andre would survive his injuries.
TMZ claims its own photographer captured the incident, the Huffington Post reports.
Full list of advertisers who have removed their ads:
- National Geographic
- USA Network
- If By Phone
- A$AP ROCKY
- Sony Music
- Shop At Home
- Comedy Central
- H&R Block
Andrews has posted a statement on Change.org, titled "TMZ: remove the video of my nephew being murdered", which reads as follows:
"TMZ has thoughtlessly and carelessly posted a video of my nephew, Andre Lowe, being shot to death outside a Hollywood nightclub. These people have no regard for the loved ones affected by this tragedy. I understand freedom of press but the line has to be drawn somewhere. Its very obvious that the media has no morals and nothing is off limits when it comes to gaining ratings. What they did is wrong and they need to be held accountable. No one wants to see their loved one in this position, having this event viewed by millions of strangers is disgusting. This video needs to be removed and an apology issued to the family and friends."