TMZ Sparked Investigation of Eminem on Trump Lyrics

BuzzFeed files for documents on Secret Service interview
By Bob Cronin,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 24, 2019 6:07 PM CDT
TMZ Sparked Investigation of Eminem on Trump Lyrics
Eminem, shown in 2015, was questioned by the Secret Service about his lyrics.   (Photo by Evan Agostini/Invision/AP, File)

An email from a "concerned citizen" who worked at TMZ brought some Eminem lyrics to the attention of the Secret Service on the day the track, "Framed," was released. "I want to know if your agency is investigating Eminem for his threatening lyrics about First daughter Ivanka Trump," the employee wrote. Lyrics on his following album, released in August 2018, seemed to telegraph what happened next: "Agent Orange just sent the Secret Service." The agency wouldn't say whether agents actually had interviewed Eminem, so BuzzFeed filed a Freedom of Information Act request. They had. A background check was done in December 2017 after the citizen report that, documents say, "Marshall Mathers the rapper ‘Eminem’ had a new song called 'Framed' with an inappropriate comment towards President Donald Trump and a threatening comment towards Ivanka Trump."

The emailer from TMZ, which had posted a story about the lyrics criticizing Trump a few hours earlier, evidently was looking for comment from the Secret Service. Either way, agents met with Mathers and his lawyers in January 2018. They asked about threats in fan mail and whether he had any questions for them, per BuzzFeed. It's not clear that the interview was tense: The documents say that as agents went through the lyrics, Mathers began to "rap along with the interviewers as the verse was read." In the end, the agency decided two days later against referring the case to a prosecutor. In 2003, per Time, the Secret Service investigated Eminem over lyrics about dead presidents — a term for cash. (More Eminem stories.)

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