ABC News is investigating the accuracy of its report that claimed director Tony Scott, who jumped to his death from a Los Angeles bridge, had brain cancer.
Authorities have been investigating Scott’s death as a suicide and that he had left several notes behind to family members.
On Monday, ABC News, citing ‘a source close to Scott” said the director had inoperable brain cancer. But Scott’s family has denied this.
“The family told us it is incorrect that he has inoperable brain cancer,” said Craig Harvey, a chief for the Los Angeles County coroner’s office told the Los Angles Times.
Meanwhile, ABC News has since backed off its initial report, headlining its most recent story about the case: “Tony Scott Brain Cancer Appears in Doubt.”
A network spokesperson told Poynter.org that ABC was waiting to hear back from Scott’s family or a family representative before determining whether its initial report about Scott was incorrect.
“Right now, our primary focus is on the journalism and reporting out the facts for this story as it’s still developing,” David Ford, director of publicity for ABC News, told Poynter. “Any time that there’s something that’s misreported online or on air we do an internal review, but with regard to the specifics of this particular story, because the facts are still developing and aren’t known yet, we can’t comment on anything specific.”
Ford said it is possible that Scott, 68, did not tell his family he had cancer, but said if ABC’s initial report is found to be untrue, the network will issue a retraction and conduct an internal review.
Several people called 911 around 12:35 p.m. local time Sunday to report that someone had jumped from the Vincent Thomas Bridge spanning San Pedro and Terminal Island in Los Angeles Harbor, according to police Lt. Tim Nordquist.
A dive team with Los Angeles Port Police pulled the body from the murky water several hours later, Nordquist said. Scott’s body was taken to a dock in Wilmington and turned over to the county coroner’s office.
Motorist David Silva told the Los Angeles Times that Scott appeared to hesitate before climbing a fence along the bridge, and again before leaping. He said fellow motorists at first thought the director was performing an extreme sports stunt, but quickly realized he didn’t have a parachute or other safety equipment.