It’s a story that wouldn’t be out of place in TMZ’s regular reports on the antics of celebrities gone wild; a newsroom ego-battle between two massive social media stars that ended up with one placing his hands on the other neck and getting fired for it.
However, in this case, even though what appears to be stills of the physical row have been posted online (usually TMZ catnip), the site appears to have taken a decision to hold the front page on what could be a salacious scoop—not particularly surprising when you consider the newsroom in question is none other than that of TMZ itself.
The first that fans of TMZ knew of the newsroom row was when TMZ veteran Van Lathan, a favorite of followers of the site—and much reviled by the celebrities he torments—posted a cryptic message to Twitter saying that “tomorrow is going to suck.”
His forecast came true when he was fired by TMZ and reports surfaced claiming that he had got into a physical confrontation with fellow star, Michael Babcock during the filming of the site’s online show “TMZ Live.”
TMZ obsessives were stunned at the firing as Van Lathan is arguably the most compelling TMZ personality. He became a household name after he called bullshit in a discussion with Kanye West in which the rapper said that slavery was “a choice.”
Page Six reported earlier this week that Lathan had confronted Babcock in the newsroom after the segment and told him there would be trouble if he “ever embarrassed [Lathan] like that again,” however reports emerged suggesting that Lathan also placed his hands on Babcock’s neck area.
In true TMZ style, there are even photos, which were posted to a random twitter account on October 9.
The sequence of four pictures appear to be screenshots from the show.
A source who was in the room told Page Six that Lathan was finished shooting and was way on the other side of the room before he decided to return to confront Babcock. “He walked all the way across the room, came from behind [Babock] and grabbed him,” said the insider.
Apparently the row was triggered by a discussion about the photographs of Ellen Degeneres seated with George W. Bush at a game.
Babcock, Lathan and reps for TMZ have not commented.