"Better and Worse Than You Thought It Was"

Awl pal Anne Helen Petersen on Harvey Levin’s empire of slime:

[I]t’s clear that Bieber’s tape was not the only near-priceless piece of dirt in the proverbial TMZ vault. (TMZ did not respond to multiple requests for comment.) According to these ex-employees, the sealed testimonies from the Michael Jackson molestation trial hide there as does footage of various celebrities — Bieber, Lohan, Travolta — behaving badly. The vault isn’t a secret at TMZ — even the lowest on the staff ladder have heard whispers of its existence. As to what goes up on the site and what stays vaulted, that’s a finer, more esoteric calculus — and one in which celebrities and their publicists have come to live in fear.

Also unsurprising: “Regarding the atmosphere of generalized sexism and discrimination described in the suit, male and female TMZ employees, none of whom were willing to go on the record, reported that it was all true, if not worse.” (See also: The Trials of ‘Entertainment Weekly’: One Magazine’s 24 Years of Corporate Torture.)