Entertainment

06.12.14

TMZ Makes Tragedy Porn Out of Tracy Morgan’s Gruesome Car Accident

The gossip site posted video of a seriously injured comedian riding with the star being pulled out of a mangled car. Think of what the family is going through before you click.

“I honestly would like to petition for TMZ to remove this video.  They don't understand how hurtful it is to see my father dragged out of the wreckage...No one should see my father this way. Please TMZ remove this video.”

These words are part of the emotional plea posted online by Krizya Fuqua, the daughter of comedian Ardie Fuqua who was seriously inured in the horrific car accident involving Tracy Morgan last weekend. (Ardie is reportedly in critical condition.) I won’t post the link to the video because I don’t want TMZ to further profit from it.

I’m all for freedom of the press and expression, but TMZ should remove the video that shows Ardie’s unconscious body being carried out of a badly mangled car.  The video is not “newsworthy”—it’s tragedy porn.  And clearly it’s adding to the pain and anguish the Fuqua family is already enduring.

Doesn’t TMZ get enough clicks on its site from showing meltdowns of Alec Baldwin or wardrobe malfunctions involving a Kardashian?  Do they really need to post this video, which TMZ proudly put their watermark over so that everyone knows where it came from?  Is this the type of scoop that TMZ’s head honcho Harvey Levin is truly proud of?

And I have to admit, I’m biased because I know Ardie Fuqua. I’ve performed with him probably hundreds of times in comedy clubs in New York City.  Ardie is not only one of the funniest comics out there, but his infectious energy is off the charts.

When I would emcee shows at The Comedy Cellar in the West Village, Ardie would often be the closing act, taking the stage around 2 AM.  While most comics would bemoan going on this late, but not Ardie. He loved it. Ardie would bolt into the club with a huge smile and energy to match, raring to get on stage.  It didn’t matter if was a packed house or five foreign tourists who barley understood English, Ardie would turn it on 100 percent. 

And despite it being so late (or early depending on your point of view), there were numerous nights that Ardie would actually refuse to even get off the stage at 2:30 AM.  On occasion, the wait staff would shut off the stage microphone in hopes of ending the show—but even that wouldn’t always work.  Ardie would keep telling his jokes without a microphone, bringing each one to life like it was the first time he was telling it. The audience loved it.

That’s the type of videos people should be watching of Ardie Fuqua. Not the crap TMZ has posted.

Thankfully, there’s a growing chorus of people urging to TMZ to heed Krizya's heart wrenching plea and take down the video. Last night Louis C.K. tweeted: "Take it down TMZ. Now. Please. " Judd Apatow recently tweeted: @HarveyLevinTMZ please take down the accident video.” Several of my comedian friends on Facebook have voiced similar feelings.

But there’s another side to this story.  While the focus is on TMZ, lets not forget that there was a person who approached a horrific accident scene and whose first instinct was not, How can help? but Let me record a video of the carnage to share with my friends.

You have to wonder was the person hoping to record a lot of blood and guts because his friends would've thought it was really cool? And think of the person’s excitement to discover a celebrity had been in accident: Jackpot! Forget YouTube, I can sell to this a place like TMZ and make money off this tragedy.

There’s nothing I can say that will change our TMZ mindset.  I’m just as much a part of using social media to become an instant pundit on issues of the day.  And to be honest, when a celebrity engages in outrageous antics in public, they deserve what they get.

But in this instance, Ardie didn’t do anything wrong. He simply was enjoying a ride home after performing at a packed theater with Tracy Morgan. Sadly, fate had other plans.

TMZ should show some decency and heed the plea Krizya Fuqua. TMZ founder Harvey Levin has the opportunity to give Ardie’s daughter and the Fuqua family a Father’s Day present they deserve by removing this video.