“TMZ and [founder] Harvey [Levin] y’all been profiting off of people’s pain,” Tip said in an Instagram Live rant Thursday, June 6. The stream went up after TMZ published information from the Fulton Medical Examiner that revealed the cause of death for Harris, whose real name is Antoinette Chapman.
T.I. took major issue with the since-deleted article on his sister, who had occasionally been featured on his VH1 reality series, “T.I. & Tiny: The Family Hustle.” The rapper lashed out at the publication for reporting what apparently led Harris to have a serious car accident on Feb. 13. Sources told TMZ at the time she crashed into a pole after suffering an asthma attack. Harris was hospitalized and placed on life support; she died a week later after being removed from it.
“As long as you’ve known me, Harvey, I’ve been respectful, I’ve been cordial, I’ve been polite, I’ve been kind and I’ve been fair,” T.I. said. “You just burned that bridge. I hope your story was worth it. You just burned that bridge. To not just me, but everybody around me. All my family. Anybody who stand with me and who stand with Precious, will not stand for you.”
He went on to call for everyone who supported Precious, including Delta Sigma Theta Sorority Inc., of which she was a member, to stop viewing TMZ, reading their stories and following them online. He also blasted any outlets who turned around and reported the medical examiner’s findings.
“Man, you are not bigger than the movement, Mr. Harvey!” he said. “You are not bigger than the movement! You got s— that you don’t want motherf—ers to know! And I’m gon’ find out. But I still ain’t gon’ tell nobody.”
Tip got support from many fans, including fellow rapper Meek Mill who tweeted, “TMZ THAT WAS UNNECESSARY WHAT YALL DID WITH TIP FAMILY …. WHAT HAPPENED 2 MORALS?”
“Gotta salute @Tip for the way he handles folks who get out of line these days. And sure, it’ll be nice if media learns from this, but it’ll be easier for them to be better if we decide we don’t want/need so much gossip,” a Twitter user said.
Another tweeted, “I can’t be the only one who feels some type of way about TMZ exposing tft TI sister died from cocaine use…like why tf did we need to know that.”
Afterward, TMZ published an apology and an obituary in place of their initial report.
“Earlier Thursday, we posted a story about T.I.’s sister, Precious Harris Chapman, and reported the Medical Examiner’s official findings on her cause of death … we were wrong to do it,” the article read. “T.I. and his family are hurt and furious, and they have a point.”
It went on to list the host of philanthropic efforts Harris was involved in. They include the nonprofit Saving Our Daughters, where she helped girls overcome the adversity of bullying, dating abuse and domestic violence, as well as her involvement with Hosea Feed the Hungry.
In the wake of Harris’ death, T.I. established a scholarship in her honor called the Precious Chapman Scholarship Fund.
“Precious was only peripherally involved in T.I. and Tiny’s reality show, and wasn’t in the spotlight as a celebrity,” TMZ concluded. “We got this wrong and we regret posting the M.E.’s findings.”