Below is a copy of the email sent by journalist and media consultant Jasmyne Cannick on behalf of the family of Gemmel Moore to The Root's Michael Harriot regarding his horrible and inaccurate article on the death of Gemmel Moore:
Good morning Michael.
I am copying Gemmel Moore’s mother on this email and attorney Nana Gyamfi, because they share the same frustration and concerns that I have about your story for The Root.
1. You never reached out to myself or anyone associated with Gemmel Moore’s death to verify and clarify your information.
2. You quoted the WeHo Times as a source which is one the main sources of misinformation and sensationalization around Gemmel Moore’s death. They literally used his death as clickbait and reported numerous erroneous facts that you then repeated as truths.
3. LaTisha Nixon’s name is all over the internet. It’s not Latrisha.
4. Gemmel Moore wasn’t a prostitute and none of the victims of Ed Buck, including Moore, had sex with Ed Buck.
5. You wrote: "On July 27, 2016, 26-year-old Gemmel Moore was found in the bathroom of a West Hollywood, Calif., apartment belonging to Ed Buck. Moore was young, black and poor. Buck was 62 years old, white, wealthy and powerful.” Gemmel Moore died on July 27, 2017.
6. You wrote: " even though multiple reports have surfaced that Buck had a predilection for black male prostitutes.” Ed Buck has a predilection for vulnerable young Black gay men—not black male prostitutes.
7. You wrote: "In the spring of 2016, Gemmel Moore relocated from Texas and moved to West Hollywood. Moore’s family says the 26-year-old revealed to them that he was working in the city’s thriving underground sex industry as an escort after falling on hard times, including a period of homelessness.” None of this is true and again, the time frame is 2017.
8. You wrote: "Moore’s roommate and best friend, Samuel Lloyd, alleges that Buck had an unhealthy obsession with Moore. “He went out there searching for other men that were struggling and on the streets and had no money ... men who had never experienced drugs before,” said Lloyd at a vigil held for Moore Aug. 18 by Justice4Gemmel, an organization launched by Moore’s mother, LaTrisha Nixon. “This is the kind of guys Ed Buck searched for.”” Those comments were made October 21, 2017 in West Hollywood at a community meeting as written on the same video you embedded in the description.
9. There’s nothing “purported” about the journal. As it has been reported on in the LA Times and other mainstream media, that is Gemmel’s journal and in his own handwriting. Saying that it’s purported hints that the journal might not be authentic in some way.
10. You wrote: "Moore’s family have asked the investigators to grant immunity to witnesses who come forward, but the Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department said that it cannot grant immunity, only prosecutors can.” We got immunity quite some time ago from the district attorney’s office for the victims and one Google search would have showed the stories reporting on that.
11. You wrote: "In addition to the launch of Justice4Gemmel, Moore’s mother, LaTrisha Nixon, has enlisted the help of human rights advocate and attorney Nana Gyamfi to pressure the city of West Hollywood and Los Angeles County to reopen the case.” What are you talking about? There is currently an open homicide investigation with the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department as listed on the same website you reference. And again, her name is LaTisha Nixon.
Michael, I’ve been a journalist for many years. This is some of the sloppiest reporting I have ever read in my life. All you had to do was simply reached out to us for the information instead of lifting bits and pieces of fake news from the internet and passing it off as truth.
The WeHo Times has never been supportive or even accurate in their reporting of this story.
They have stalked and insulted Gemmel Moore’s mother as well as myself and others associated with this case. To use them as a credible source on Gemmel Moore’s story when the family has a website with all of the latest information readily available to anyone looking for it in addition to contact information for the DA’s office and the sheriff’s department was a lazy move in my opinion. I don’t know if you personally have issues with Black gay men or the same-gender loving community, but if you thought you were doing Gemmel Moore’s cause a favor by writing about it for The Root, please know that you caused more damage than good that we now have to try and clean up.
You owe Gemmel Moore’s family and friends a correction and a fast one at that to try and mitigate some of the damage that you’ve caused by your false reporting.
And if I seem irritated, I am Michael. I have spent the last several months of my life on this case. Meeting with victims, earning their trust, working with Gemmel’s mother and friends as well as the attorney to see that a light is shined on this case and justice is served. While I don’t claim to own Gemmel’s story, because I don’t belive anyone can own a tragedy like this, I definitely have put in work and published what is true and accurate about the situation—more so than anyone else. If you would have reached out I would have given you any information that you needed and connected you to anyone you wanted to talk you. But you didn’t and now we have respond to your article so that people understand what the real truth of the matter is.
Gemmel Moore and Ed Buck’s victims are more than just click bait headlines and I am sorry that you didn’t do your due diligence in sharing their story on such a highly visible platform. As a Black journalist, you are supposed to take more care when telling our stories and not contribute to the same cycle of madness that created the need for the Black press and Black issue focused media outlets.
I will be posting this email publicly sans the email addresses so that people understand what has been done and the response to you about it.