With the opening of New York Knicks training camp yesterday, team president Phil Jackson assures us that Derrick Rose has lost no sleep over an upcoming civil trial for rape in Los Angeles. And why should we worry, what with the nation’s most highly trafficked gossip site running interference? As The Daily Beast’s Amy Zimmerman writes, “instead of addressing the issue of consent at the heart of this case, Rose’s lawyers have chosen to go the TMZ route by favoring flashy accusations and retro victim-blaming.”
In a Sept. 12 missive from the bowels of the 30-mile zone, headlined “Derrick Rose to Rape Accuser: You’re No Prude You Hooked Up With Nick Young,” the website essentially does Rose’s slut-shaming dirty work for him. TMZ explains that Rose’s accuser, referred to as Jane Doe, “Claims she was traumatized by the alleged gang rape because she’s ‘prudish’ and sexually inexperienced. Rose’s team says that’s a big fat lie… and they have a text referring to fellow NBA guard Nick Young to prove it.” The gossip site goes on to publish texts from Jane Doe, implying that Doe engaged in a sexual relationship with Young. “The docs also claim Jane Doe interacted with lots of celebs and had sexual relationships with at least 2 NBA players other than Rose,” TMZ concludes, “bringing a major question about her credibility into play.”
Much like Donald Trump Jr.’s Skittles meme, it’s hard to say what’s more immediately revolting: the outdated beliefs behind this article or the logical fallacies contained within it. TMZ seems to be working under the assumption that simply by describing Rose’s attempts to discredit his abuser, sans rebuttal or commentary, it’s doing its job. The site fails to address the moral reprehensibility of this type of smear campaign, or cop to its role in perpetuating it.