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TMZ’s Harvey Levin on being gay in the news biz: “I was so terrified that somebody would find out.”

http://s-ak.buzzfed.com/static/imagebuzz/web04/2010/2/24/12/is-that-harvey-levin-of-tmz-fame-28842-1267033002-118.jpgEditor’s note: This is an encore of a post from April. It seems to be getting a lot of new traffic in recent days so I want to make it easier for folks to find.

Enjoy!

Harvey Levin is usually busy breaking news about other people.

But the managing editor of TMZ.com and executive producer and host of TMZ on TV got personal [last April] while hosting a fundraising event in West Hollywood for the National Lesbian and Gay Journalists Association.

“I really wanted to do this and I’m really pleased and honored that you guys asked me to come here,” he told the crowd.

I’m a longtime NLGJA member and arrived at the East-West Lounge early with the hopes of snagging an interview with Harvey about being gay in the news business and how that has affected his life and career. He said his employer Warner Bros. isn’t keen on his doing such things without clearance.

http://www.judiciaryreport.com/images/harvey-levin.jpgI was disappointed at not getting an interview but then pleased when Harvey touched on many of the topics I’d wanted to discuss in his remarks to the crowd.

“I’m thinking back a long time when I was starting out as a TV reporter at a local station in LA and I remember at the time – I was probably in my late 20s – and I remember this hell-like fear that if anybody in that newsroom found out that that I was gay, that it would be over,” he said. “I built it up in my head. I was so terrified that somebody would find out.”

Now 59, Harvey remembers a time when he desperately tried to keep his lives separate: “I compartmentalized my life. Obviously friends knew I was gay but professionally I had to shut it out. And I believe, at the time, there was good cause for thinking I’d get fired. It got to a point where I was agoraphobic.  My biggest joy was just never having to leave my house.”

TMZ managing  editor Harvey Levin seen leaving the gym with a  protein drink in Venice,  CA.

He remembers that when he was out with friends and if they were in a gay establishment, he used his ability to scan a room “in three seconds” to find out if there was anyone he knew there.

“I’d would immediately look for someone who worked sat the station,” Harvey said. “I remember walking into this restaurant that was primarily a gay restaurant and I ran into this woman who worked at the station and I thought, ‘Oh my God, it’s over.” … I was so upset that I left.”

“It got to a breaking point with me where I just finally said, ‘This isn’t worth it.” And I just let it go. And nothing happened.”

Harvey went on to work steadily in television and in the entertainment business. He was legal reporter for KCBS in Los Angeles, legal consultant and later host for two incarnations of The People’s Court and prior to TMZ, was creator and executive producer of the show Celebrity Justice.

“I think a lot of people build it up in their heads and they need people to see that it’s not a big deal,” he said of his sexuality. “I think it’s important for people to see that you can survive and thrive and do well and prosper and there are no recriminations for the most part – although there are in some cases.”

“Still acknowledging that there are prejudices, that fact that what people build up in their heads is often way more than the reality than what it is,” he added. “Even if the reality isn’t freedom from that kind of discrimination, the feeling that ‘Who cares?’ and that you can push it and challenge it is also really important.”

FILE UNDER: Newsmakers

Comments

(All comments are reviewed before being published, and I review submissions several times per day.)

39 Remarks

  1. omg, I hate this guy. he doesn’t represent me.

  2. I hate Harvy Levin, deeply.

  3. I’m glad I found this site. I’ve always wanted to say I HATE HARRY LEVIN. I’m so glad some guys spoofed his show. He couldn’t hide how much he got annoyed behind his fake smile. Hooray for KARMA! Let’s get more of those spoofs for scavengers like Harry Levin.

  4. December 14th, 2010 at 9:21 pm
    alex campbell says:

    Harvy … you’re hot … ring me up!

  5. Love you Harvey, you are adorable. Screw the Haters!!!

  6. Good for him and not letting his personal life effect his career. I dont see how him being gay has anything to do with being the great entertainment reporter that he is. You all can say you hate him all you want but seems to me that youre just jealous of his career and the person that he is.

  7. alright screw all the haters i love you harvey!

  8. DON’T ASK DON’T TELL! DON’T NOBODY CARE BOUT YOU!

  9. seioursly what someone chooses to do with ones life is not for us to judge, right or wrong, which one of you created the earth? we need to stop judging and just love one another, our day will come

  10. I can’t stand this sneaky, hypocritical Pig!

  11. I have enjoyed Harvey and his comments on both People’s Court and TMZ. See no reason to stop now that I know he is gay. No difference.

    Thanks for the entertainment Harvey.
    Never did understand the “don’t ask; don’t tell people.

  12. I like watching TMZ but I had been noticing Harvey’s mannerisms being rather over the top. I said to myself no str8 man would act like that so i had to do a quick search to see if he was gay and hey I was right. But it is obvious after all. Beside no str8 man is that nosey.

  13. I love Harvey and I’m a straight female. I thought he may be gay but wasnt sure. It doesnt change my feelings for him. He has such an enthusiasm about him that I adore.

  14. I love Harvey Levin!

    Glad to see he built up the courage to be himself, wish more people would follow his lead.

  15. Harvey Levin is a hard-working, educated man whose sexual proclivity is no one’s business. I will add, that it is ironic that given his chosen profession, his fear out being identified as a gay man, has never been a big story in the media.

  16. harvey you are awesome i dont care what other people say. i love tmz i watch it every night. someday i am going to work there. <3<3<3<3

  17. Good to know.. So… You seeing any one Harvey?

  18. Dear Harvey – I’m a single christian 50-yr old hot latina woman. It never occured to me that you would be gay until tonight. I googled it and found this article. I was willing to overlook you being jewish but now I find out you’re gay?! Really?! Ugh! Why do all the hot guys turn out to be gay?!!! LOL ;-) Well…you’re still funny, intelligent in a hot way and well….basically hot in general. I still love ya regardless. A girl can still fantasize… ;-)

  19. Harvey, Harvey, Harvey. Your laugh, your smile. I don’t dig the idea of the ‘fudge pack’ but I really like you… no matter what. You are a ‘go-getting-jew boy thats done well. Live your life.. good on ya kiddo… keep laughing your sillyness is whats cool about you.

    50year old women in So Cal. (Not a single hot latina women yuk hot,, ya sure)

  20. revenge is a spoof? are you kidding me, this guy is making bank so really he has nothing to worry about

  21. im really stupid, i didnt know you could get on the internet untill today oh and im 50 FIFTY YEARS OLD!

  22. i always knew

  23. no more peoples court for me

  24. That “don’t ask don’t tell” policy should apply to some of these comments above. No one asked your religion, beliefs or age, who cares if you can’t overlook race, or sexual preferences, others don’t care. For all of those who have to turn the channel from Harvey are probably the same ones who lost a case in people’s court. Way to go Harvey for setting yourself free from your own battles with acceptance, keep kicking ass and taking fame :)

  25. No shock here…everyone on TMZ looks gay

  26. January 18th, 2012 at 11:19 pm
    loretta may jones says:

    love him he’s awesome, gay or not he rocks

  27. March 27th, 2012 at 3:29 pm
    Nancy Hatfield says:

    I love Harvey Levin. If you watch his show you will see how caring and kind he is with his staff. In return his staff has so much respect for him. I don’t personally know Harvey, but I would love to meet him, he is so interesting.
    How people can use the word “hate” with anyone makes me throw up. I say chill out, you don’t even know the man and it is in poor taste, grow up.

  28. Harvey, if you weren’t gay, I’d marry you :) You’re so funny and since we’re (almost) the same age, I crack up at all the jokes that go over ur young staff’s heads! Shame! All the good ones are taken :)

  29. I was amazed to find out that Mr. Levin was gay.Bye Bill

  30. harvey i think you are brave to go on live televison. people knowing you are gay. i never knew you were but you are a great catch.you are smart nice gorgeous body.and what i see on tmz about you is. . that you are funny and great humorer.repiy clairterri@gmail.com just a fan.you are sexy also.

  31. I love this, TMZ cracks me up!

  32. To those lovely commenters who misspelt HARVEY LEVIN’s name:
    If you can’t even spell his name, why talk crap? Your comments are truly indicative of your intelligence level.

  33. I just wish Harvey & Anderson had a shot with each other. THAT would make for 1 great cocktail party. NO PUN INTENDED!

  34. Where do these people get off judging him. Does he not have the right to be Happy an live his life as he see’s fit. He’s given us entertainment in which I’m greatful for. An Bella, you self proclaimed hot Latino, what does him being Jewish have to do with this article ??
    Kelby (White Catholic Boy)

  35. What i dont understand is why harvey posts so many articles about gay people, as if baiting the visitors to then crucify them? i am gay, love tmz. but i just cant go there anymore. the vast majority of the comments about any gay person are extremely abusive. so a gay man, who is jewish, and i assume liberal. runs a site and tv show, that unashamedly allows homophobia. im sure he realizes the influence these comments have. but i guess it doesnt matter. ratings and hits before principles.

  36. Who hate’s Harry Levin? He seems to be the nicest guy and he’s a Vegetarian! I think his smile is very genuine. I love TMZ. Who cares if he pokes a little fun at gays? So, what? They make fun of everyone on TMZ. Howard Stern has been insulting people for years and getting away with it.

  37. April 30th, 2013 at 10:06 am
    PAUL WILSON says:

    I didn’t know Harvey was gay until a recent article in “OUT” magazine listing important gay personalities—congrats on coming out! Mazeltov for your bravery, which isn’t such a big hurdle in LA these days, but is where I’m still closeted as an employee at a home builder in Oklahoma where the necks are red and the tobacco is chewed. I was out in San Fran, bot that’s a duh. You go girl.

  38. Love you Harvey Levin!

  39. Go for it Harvey! You’re a role model for MANY young, Gay people. Love Ya Buddy! Stay on Lindsay Lohan! I can’t STAND that…..person!

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