Remember Van Lathan? You may have forgotten that this fan-favorite was fired from TMZ in 2019 after a political argument gone wrong. Celebrity news lovers have been wondering about what Van’s up to next ever since.
Celebrity gossip has slowed during the quarantine, leading beloved broadcasters like Lathan to speak on different topics. The talented TV personality has been keeping busy in 2020, and hopefully, we’ll start seeing him on the big screen again sooner rather than later.
But who is Van Lathan, really? Here’s everything you need to know about Van Lathan and why you should check out his newest projects.
Van Lathan Got Involved With Celebrity Gossip Early
We don’t know much about Lathan’s early life. However, we do know that Lathan moved from his hometown of Baton Rouge, Louisiana to Los Angeles, California to make it big in entertainment.
Before working as a reporter and producer at TMZ, Van Lathan started out as a TMZ tour bus guide around 2012. This job helped him develop a taste for celebrity gossip early on as he pointed out celebrity homes and shared stories in Hollywood.
This was a great foundation for his later work as a TMZ TV correspondent, where he often shared his controversial options. TMZ has a history of being controversial in its journalism methods. Lathan’s strong opinions were a perfect fit for the reporting team.
His Controversial Career at TMZ
While it’s unclear when Lathan began his correspondent career, it’s evident that he used his platform to speak freely about what mattered to him during his career at TMZ.
The notorious celebrity gossip TV show and website are known for turning up the drama. One notable instance that put Van Lathan on the map was a 2018 conversation with Kanye West, where West shared his thoughts on slavery.
During the interview, West claimed that 400 years of slavery “was a choice” that African-American people continued to make. Lathan, an African-American man, passionately called out West during the interview. Lathan shared his disappointment and his hurt openly with West, later saying that he had lost all respect for West during that interview.
This bold choice skyrocketed Lathan’s popularity and made him a household name as the news spread. As one of the only Black staff members at TMZ, he adopted the responsibilities of his platform and started speaking about how to use words for good. Unfortunately, his openness also led to the end of his career at TMZ.
Lathan Gets Fired From TMZ
As political conversations started to become more common on TMZ, Lathan’s strong political conviction cost him his job.
It’s well known that shows like TMZ create tension and drama to make enjoyable TV. But, the chemistry between Van Lathan and co-host Michael Babcock soured as politics meshed with celebrity gossip.
It was common for Lathan and Babcock to bicker on TMZ Live. Lathan often expressed his liberal views and Babcock took a more moderate and conservative stance. Things came to a head during a heated conversation about talk show host Ellen DeGeneres sitting with former Republican present George W. Bush during a football game.
While the filmed confrontation didn’t appear too heated, it was later revealed that there were still shots of Lathan and Babcock getting physical after the on-air argument. There was allegedly a picture which showed Lathan’s hands around Babcock’s neck.
This choking incident is thought to be the primary reason Lathan was dismissed from his job at TMZ. However, many reports also note that his termination may be connected to the network’s right-wing views. Lathan’s opinions clearly did not align with the perspectives of his bosses.
Thankfully, TMZ wasn’t the only place Lathan shared his opinions and used his influence as a megaphone. Lathan also became a popular podcaster in recent years.
Sharing Opinions on His Podcasts
In 2018, while working for TMZ, Lathan was developing his first podcast, “The Red Pill.” This highly-rated podcast gave Lathan an opportunity to share his views on sports, hip hop, and pop culture. It also opened the door for Lathan to share and explore his political views, which have now become a central aspect of his social platform.
While this podcast was loved by listeners, it was a short-lived project that ended around the time he was dismissed from TMZ in November 2019. He has since started a new podcast, “Higher Learning with Van Lathan and Rachel Lindsay.” In this new Van Lathan podcast, he and former Bachelorette Lindsay dive into Black culture, politics, and sports.
Though some listeners may miss the more playful style Lathan embodied on “The Red Pill,” his latest podcast aligns closely with his political views and the current political climate. This twice-weekly podcast gives Lathan a platform that represents his values and expands on the content he shares on social media.
Podcasting is not all Lathan has up his sleeve. The former TMZ host is keeping busy with plenty of projects during 2020.
What Else Is Lathan Doing Now?
Following his dismissal from TMZ, Van Lathan accepted a new job reporting for Central Ave, a new celebrity gossip show. The Fox Network will let Lathan grace our TV screens once more.
Additionally, Lathan has been working as the executive producer of a new document titled “Uppity: The Willy T. Ribbs Story.” This documentary is a profile of the popular racecar driver who was the first Black person to qualify for the Indy 500. The controversial driver is the perfect subject for Lathan to cover and celebrate.
Even after Lathan’s unceremonious departure from TMZ, he still has plenty of work to keep him busy. We still have no news on a Van Lathan’s wife or fiance, so he’s still free in some ways! We’re excited to see more of him in the coming years.
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