TMZ, a popular celebrity gossip Web site, has opened up shop in Nashville, though not everyone is thrilled by their arrival.
Nashville, for the most part, has always been a paparazzi-free area, allowing musicians and other stars to maintain their privacy.
However, now with more and more celebrities calling Music City home, TMZ has also made itself at home in the heart of Nashville.
Country music singer Craig Campbell was one of the gossip site’s first targets after he performed a cover of “Royals” at Winners Bar & Grill in Midtown earlier this month.
“[I] actually got pulled to the side by a TMZ reporter and he asked me a couple of questions about the song,” Campbell said.
While Campbell admitted his encounter with the gossip Web site reporter was harmless, not everything TMZ, who is most known for “gotcha journalism,” does is so mild-mannered.
Steve Ford, co-owner of Winners, told News 2 he believes paparazzi are bad for business.
“I’ve run them out a couple of times,” Ford said. “We don’t have that reputation [of paparazzi] here. That’s the reason people show up here and I really don’t care for TMZ. I don’t want them here. I don’t want anyone like that here.”
Rae Krenn has managed restaurants in both Los Angeles and Nashville for decades. She told Nashville’s News 2 she has seen first-hand what paparazzi can do to a town and hopes Nashville is not the next victim.
“I would hate to see that change,” she said. “I know they [paparazzi] have a job to do, but it can be very dangerous stuff.”
Despite having a positive encounter with TMZ, Campbell said one of the things he has always liked about Nashville is that it has always been relatively paparazzi free.
“That’s one of the cool things about Nashville, is people can come to town and not be bothered by these things,” he said. “And in no way do I have the celebrity status of Luke Bryan or [Jason] Aldean or Carrie Underwood or anybody like that, so it’s not that big of a deal for me, but even for those guys, I don’t think it will come to that.”
While paparazzi aren’t camping out on the sidewalks yet, it could be just a matter of time, especially with the annual CMA Music Fest in Nashville June 5-8.
News 2 reached out to TMZ several times for comment, but they have yet to respond to our requests.