NEWS

About Us

Gossip Cop was created to fact-check the gossip industry. Launched in July 2009, the site strives to be the most accurate and credible source of celebrity news. Every day our team diligently works to separate fact from fiction. Gossip Cop currently monitors more than 200 websites, TV shows, newspapers and magazines. We’re the only outlet in the world that fact-checks entertainment reporting and are proud to have been at the forefront of debunking “fake news” about Hollywood personalities. Gossip Cop is active in the International Fact-Checking Network community and participated in 2017’s Global Fact 4 conference in Madrid, as well as 2018’s Global Fact 5 in Rome.

STAFF:

Michael Lewittes is the site’s creator, owner, founder and “Top Cop.” A reformed gossip columnist who knows the industry inside and out, over the past 25 years Michael has been an “Access Hollywood” producer, the news director for Us Weekly, an editor at The New York Post, and a columnist for the New York Daily News. A graduate of Yale College, Michael was also a correspondent on E! and has appeared on a variety of TV shows as a celebrity commentator. He can be reached at Michael@GossipCop.com.

Andrew Shuster is an Associate Editor at Gossip Cop. He previously served as a freelance writer for the websites fashionnstyle.com, designntrend.com, filmonic.com and joonbug.com, as well as contributed to Universal Pictures’ Tumblr page. Andrew graduated with a bachelor of arts in communications and media studies from Northeastern University. He can be reached at Andrew@GossipCop.com.

Dan Abrams is a co-owner and co-founder of Gossip Cop. A graduate of Columbia Law School, Dan serves as the chief legal affairs anchor for ABC News. Prior to that, Dan was the co-anchor of “Nightline.” He also owns the sites Mediaite.com, TheMarySue.com, and LawAndCrime.com, which have no affiliation with Gossip Cop. Dan is not involved in the site’s reporting.

METHODOLOGY AND TRANSPARENCY:

Gossip Cop vigorously fact-checks every story. No particular outlet or media organization is targeted by us. We are an equal opportunity debunker and have corrected everyone from the New York Times to the National Enquirer. Regardless of the outlet, we reach out to as many sources as possible who have a connection to the subject of the article and begin fact-checking from there. We leave no stone unturned when investigating claims and never post stories unless we are 100 percent certain of our conclusions.

While many outlets under our surveillance are fairly accurate, there are a number of magazines and websites that often churn out fabricated articles and/or fake news stories. When a report is published or posted elsewhere, we reach out to everyone who may have information about a particular subject and/or celebrity. If a story involves two or more parties, we make sure to contact every side.

Often, we contact the stars themselves, as well as their representation, which includes their managers, agents and publicists. Gossip Cop also has strong ties to many people in TV and film production. And for certain articles, we contact individuals in law enforcement and/or the court system. Sometimes an online or published report is fact-checked by one Gossip Cop staffer, but more often than not a few reporters attack a story from different angles. Once we have gathered all our information, we make a determination as to whether the claim we investigated is fact or fiction.

Occasionally, there are elements of truth to inaccurate reports, as well as some falsehoods within mostly on-target stories. As a result, our “Fact or Fiction” meter on the left of each article receives a numerical rating. A 0 means the story is completely wrong or made-up, while a 10 means it is entirely factual. This is the standard we have employed since our launch, and it serves to this day as an easy and understandable visual guide for our readers. In practice, however, the majority of stories we debunk are either 100 percent true or false. For example, a female celebrity reported to be expecting is either pregnant or not.

Sometimes stories that have been debunked may be updated down the road, and will be marked as such. For instance, certain outlets routinely report celebrity couples are breaking up. A number of tabloids repeatedly and wrongly claimed in 2015 that Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie were divorcing. Their claims at the time were 100 percent untrue. That fact that they broke up in late 2016 for an entirely different reason doesn’t make our fact-checks inaccurate and most assuredly doesn’t the tabloids’ old articles right. It would be as absurd as Perez Hilton laying claim to breaking the news of Fidel Castro’s death, which he reported in 2007, a full nine years before the Cuban leader actually passed away.

With the distinct position of being the one and only website that fact-checks celebrity news comes great responsibility. And we take it very seriously. Gossip Cop works doubly hard to make sure we have the facts, and present them with transparency, especially since we’re the outlet visitors and other media organizations are looking to for accurate celebrity news, as well as to see what is inaccurate and fake news.

In an effort not to be “spun,” we have, for lack of a better phrase, a “social contract” with the stars, the reps and anyone else with whom we work. Simply, if you lie to Gossip Cop, we won’t work with you again. It’s our “insurance policy,” if you will. That’s not to say, however, that we don’t question or investigate the veracity of their statements. We most certainly do. And as a result, we have found this has led to a unique openness both on the record and on background. While we often include the comments of representatives, as a matter of journalistic policy — and because they’ve been authorized by celebrities to speak on their behalves as de facto primary sources — what they tell us is by no means the deciding factor for what is fact or fiction.

Most significantly, in an effort to provide as much transparency as possible for visitors, beginning on April 4, 2018, we added a “Sources” box underneath each and every article. This is unprecedented in our field. No other entertainment news outlet does this. Now, listed beneath every story are on-the-record comments and additional documentation that show how we arrived at our conclusions. And while the outlets we fact-check routinely base their stories on — and often hide behind — a single, unnamed and untraceable “source,” as part of our commitment to transparency, Gossip Cop openly and very clearly states who our sources are and their relationship to the subject of the claim.

There are rare instances in which celebrities, entertainment executives, or government agencies will only comment on condition of anonymity because publicly speaking out would compromise their professional and financial/personal security, as well as subject them to legal issues. Still, we provide as much detail about them as possible. That said, because of Gossip Cop’s transparency policies, no fact-check will ever be posted unless we can find (and fully annotate) enough other publicly available information, so that visitors can still easily understand and, for the most part, replicate our determinations, irrespective of on-background remarks.

Importantly, not every article on the site is a fact-check. We also post run-of-the-mill debunkings. And while some claims are untrue, unless Gossip Cop can present enough back-up material for the reader to come to the same conclusion, we will not mark that story with a blue label above the headline that reads, “Fact Check” (see below). Every “Fact Check,” however, will be labeled as such, present an identifiable claim, have transparent sourcing and back-up materials within the body of the article, as well as citations beneath it, and have a clear conclusion at the bottom of the story that states how we arrived at our determination and meter rating.

Fact Check Label

Lastly, Gossip Cop has no affiliation with any political parties, advocacy groups, media organizations, TV or movie studios, or celebrity management, public relations or talent agencies. The company is independently owned by its co-founders, Michael Lewittes and Dan Abrams. Our employees are prohibited from accepting any money or services from individuals or organizations with whom we work. Additionally, we are not funded nor supported by any outside persons, companies, grants or foundations. Nor do we ever solicit money via crowdfunding or any other means. Consequently, we are even less beholden to others than many non-profits. Gossip Cop operates strictly on the revenue it generates from third-party advertising networks and the personal financial support of its co-founders.

TRANSPARENCY OF FUNDING AND EXPENDITURES FOR 2017:

As noted right above, Gossip Cop runs on the revenue earned from third-party ads, which are managed by an outside contractor, who has no contact with the staff or any connection whatsoever to our editorial content. We do not accept any political or advocacy ads nor, as a matter of principle, advertisements for cigarettes, liquor or gaming. We also, in an effort to remain independent, do not engage in any direct ad sales.

Monies generated from digital advertising sales are used to pay for the operation and maintenance of the site. Below is a breakdown of how funds are allocated, based on our April 17, 2017 state and federal income tax filings. The majority of our expenditures are on our dogged reporters, who are the lifeblood of Gossip Cop.

Staff compensation (including insurance and medical benefits): 54.5%

Operational expenses (office rent, photo licensing, equipment replacement, office and E&O insurance, wire services, phones and cable, subscriptions, travel, training, outside advertising contractor, accounting, legal services, and HR): 33.5%

Technical support (programmers, developers, site hosting): 12%

CORRECTIONS:

Gossip Cop works tirelessly every day to be the most accurate celebrity news site. And while we’re not infallible, we’re often the first to want to correct an error. If you see a verifiable mistake on Gossip Cop, please tell us. After re-examining the claim, we will fix it accordingly. Our corrections are readily visible, whether they are at the top or the bottom of an article. Send emails to Corrections@GossipCop.

To contact us about anything else, including a tip, legal matter, or questions about transparency, please visit our contacts page.

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