TMZ’s Marion Barry Headline Controversy

TMZ strikes again. The gossip site’s lack of decorum has made itself clear once again.

Over the weekend, news surfaced about former Washington D.C. Mayor Marion Barry’s passing and as opposed to acknowledging his death with dignity, TMZ opted for a controversial and highly-insensitive headline that read:

“Marion Barry, Crack Mayor Dead at 78.”

Click-bait, sure. Outrage, undoubtedly.

With the power and access social media has, an Instagram user called the gossip publication out with this post:

A photo posted by lukeburke (@lukeburke) on

The unjustified difference in these headlines breathes racial undertones. Yes, Barry had a controversial and very public case; however, he is believed to have died of natural causes. Heath Ledger died of a drug overdose. One a political leader and public figure, the other a celebrity actor. Bottom line, the headline about Barry is rude and uncalled for.

A petition is in circulation calling for TMZ to apologize and remove the headline.

JET reached out to TMZ for a comment, but no one had responded as of 2 p.m. CT.