In coverage of Adrian Peterson’s alleged abuse of his 4 year old child, TMZ has crossed the line by posting close-up images of the child victim in his underwear. A website known for its sensationalism has gone too far, exposing an already victimized child to further publicity to which he cannot consent.
TMZ might argue that it is in the public interest to share the images, but it could likewise be argued that the image is not essential to the understanding of the story, especially at the expense of the child victim. It could further be argued that it is conveying the type of image that child pornographers would find appealing, which at least in spirit violates child protection laws. Where there is uncertainty, shouldn’t we err on the side of the child? This isn’t ok.
I wonder how advertisers such as BMW and Chevrolet (both of whom appeared on the page) would feel about associating their brand with these images? My hope is that TMZ will immediately take down the offensive images and apologize to the victim and his family. TMZ and Warner Bros, their parent company, could support the taking down of abusive images by donating to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children. I further hope if they do not already have in place a rigorous process to avoid posting child abuse images that they will quickly enact one.