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Harvey Levin Did Not Steal the Rihanna Photo (So He Says)

ROLL FOOTAGE — You can't pick up an abandoned bag of cash outside a bank and then act surprised when you're arrested for stolen property. But TMZ chief Harvey Levin insists the photo of a bruised Rihanna that his website published last night was "represented" as totally legit when they secured it — that is, it wasn't stolen from the LAPD. At least not according to the person who gave it tohim! Which has Levin thinking he's in the clear of any allegations of possessing stolen property. This, despite the LAPD launching an investigation in to how the photo leaked; the shot is reportedly one taken by a detective on the scene, and there are more photos of Rihanna's injuries taken at the hospital. Levin plugged in to KTLA this morning to discuss the Chris Brown-Rihanna incident, artfully dodging most questions aimed at the ethics of publishing the photo — a debate entirely bungled by KTLA's own decision to run the photo during the Levin segment.

Comments (10)
No. 1 · fanofgrendel

Once the cats out of the bag, it's out of the bag. Bottom line is the picture shows in a absolute shocking way that definitively Chris Brown is a punk, girl-beating

Posted: Feb 20, 2009 at 1:38 pm · @Reply · [Flag?]
No. 2 · getreal

I think Harvey Levin is a dreadful person and I'm glad readership is down on that website.

Posted: Feb 20, 2009 at 1:40 pm · @Reply · [Flag?]
No. 3 · AMERICAN DREAMER

I hope Rihanna sues TMZ for damages and gives the money to a battered women's charity

or better yet Rihanna could give the money to Octopussy!

Posted: Feb 20, 2009 at 1:57 pm · @Reply · [Flag?]
No. 4 · Steevie

You can see Harvey squirm when the newscaster starts asking him questions about receiving stolen property. He says it was taken on the street in Hancock Park, so maybe it's not a police photo. Please! Like Rihanna's friends stopped by to preserve this Kodak moment? It's so scummy that they published this picture. It's humiliating enough for Rihanna that the whole world knows what happened to her, but now we can see it. I hope Rihanna dumps Chris and sues the hell out of TMZ and the LAPD. The leak of that pic was no accident. Shame on you TMZ.

Posted: Feb 20, 2009 at 2:27 pm · @Reply · [Flag?]
No. 5 · Alicia

@American Dreamer

I can understand being upset that this photo is being posted everywhere, including Perezhilton and Dlisted. But I fail to see how referring to Nadya Suleman as Octopussy is doing anything better for women or women's rights.

Posted: Feb 20, 2009 at 3:05 pm · @Reply · [Flag?]
No. 6 · jimmyd

If she sues TMZ she will have to sue everyone else that has shown the picture, especially those without TMZ's permission. TMZ paid for the picture, whether that is legit or not, and by doing so I suspect had a contract for publication and distribution of that image. But did KTLA pay for the picture to be able to show it here? I doubt it. So they are just as guilty for publishing it as TMZ is. But, given all circumstance, TMZ could sue KTLA for using copywrited material during the segment without permission.

But more to the point, if everyone wouldn't make such a big deal out of "celebrity" none of these things would be public, and could be dealt with, either through the courts or other means to have a more humane resolution to them.

Posted: Feb 20, 2009 at 6:36 pm · @Reply · [Flag?]
No. 7 · unironic

"octopussy" cracked me up!

(I can say that, I am a woman. As a woman, I always love a well placed James Bond reference.)

Posted: Feb 20, 2009 at 8:29 pm · @Reply · [Flag?]
No. 8 · jack

david I'm sure you're happy to be living in Los Angeles with the great tv coverage of KTLA and Harvey Levin its so superior to New York's coverage…

Posted: Feb 20, 2009 at 8:41 pm · @Reply · [Flag?]
No. 9 · Sahara_88

@getreal: The website was always just a vehicle to launch the TV show. Viewership for the television show is up and it is getting picked up by more stations across the country. Subsequently, Harvey Levin has been 'green lighted' to produce another type of show similar to TMZ.

Regardless of what you think of Levin, the website readership being down has no bearing on the success he seems to be experiencing.

Posted: Feb 21, 2009 at 8:17 am · @Reply · [Flag?]
No. 10 · Gary Schumacher

Did I miss something?
What is all the fuss about on who got the photo?
The story should be about a woman being beaten and what should happen next.He is not convicted yet,but all the evidence points that way.
The real story should be "What should the punishment be for a woman beater"

Posted: Feb 22, 2009 at 11:55 pm · @Reply · [Flag?]
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