Chuck Philips

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Chuck Philips
Chuck philips 2012b.jpg
Philips in 2012
Charles Alan Philips

(1952-10-15) October 15, 1952 (age 69)
OccupationJournalist and writer
AwardsPulitzer Prize
George Polk Award
National Association of Black Journalists Award
Los Angeles Press Club award

Charles Alan Philips (born October 15, 1952) is an American writer and investigative journalist.[1] From 1995 to 2008 he worked for the Los Angeles Times, after first freelancing for the newspaper.

Early life and education[edit]

Philips grew up in the Detroit, Michigan area and moved to Los Angeles at 19.[2] He worked for the Wasserman Silk Screen Company of Santa Monica, California while studying at California State University, Long Beach, where he received a B.A. in journalism in 1989.[3]


Philips worked on staff at the Los Angeles Times from 1995 to 2008. He has written for Rolling Stone, Spin, The Village Voice, The Washington Post, AllHipHop, the San Francisco Chronicle and Source.[4]

He chronicled the music[5] and entertainment industries in the late 1990s and early 2000s.[6]

Richard D. Barnet and Larry L. Burriss credited Philips' continued reporting on sexual harassment in the music industry prompted other media outlets in "bringing sexual harassment in the music industry to a national forum."[7] Philips also covered art and crime, corporate and government corruption, and medical malfeasance.

Philips said he believed the police and other law enforcement agencies had failed to solve murders of such Black figures as Tupac Shakur and Biggie Smalls.[8] In 2002 Philips' two-part series about the Shakur murder identified Orlando Anderson as Shakur's killer,[9][10] along with other news outlets that had identified Anderson as the key suspect since the 1996 murder.[11][12]

Ticketmaster congressional hearings[edit]

In the early 1990s, Philips wrote a series of stories about Ticketmaster, reporting in 1994 that the rock band Pearl Jam had complained to the Antitrust Division of the United States Department of Justice that Ticketmaster used monopolistic practices and refused to lower service fees for the band's tickets. The company had exclusive contracts with large U.S. venues and threatened to take legal action if those contracts were broken.[13]

Rap crime[edit]

Philips reported on the East-West rap feud, including the unsolved murders of Tupac Shakur and Christopher Wallace a.k.a. the Notorious B.I.G.. His 2002 two-part article for the LA Times claimed that Shakur was killed in September 1996 by Orlando Anderson, a member of the Crips gang, supported by others of the gang hired by Wallace. Philips and fellow LA Times reporters wrote articles supporting the theory that Wallace was also killed by the Crips, when he was killed six months later.[14]

In March 2008, Philips reported in the LA Times that James "Jimmy Henchman" Rosemond, a hip-hop CEO, had organized the 1994 attack on Tupac at Quad Studios in New York. The article alleged that Smalls and others knew about the attack a week in advance. He relied heavily on anonymous sources and internal FBI documents. Soon after the article was published, The Smoking Gun revealed that Philips' FBI documents had been forged by his informant, a man convicted of fraud. In April 2008, the LA Times printed a full retraction of the Quad Studios article and released Philips shortly thereafter during a wave of layoffs.[15]

Philips blames the Times editors for forcing him to rely heavily on the fake FBI documents, and stands by the facts presented in his story as told to him by his unnamed sources. Philips stated that the retraction ruined his reputation and career.[14][15][16] June 2011, New York inmate Dexter Isaac, whom Phillips states was one of his anonymous sources, said that he had participated in the Quad Studios attack.[15] Philips told LA Weekly that he demanded a "front-page retraction" in the LA Times to clear his name.[15] The LA Times did not run any retraction.

On September 13, 2012, the anniversary of Shakur's death, Philips announced he would do a "Twitter experiment," tweeting a 1,200-word article, 40 characters at a time, concurrently with the launch of his website, the[17] The article was about Harlem drug dealer Eric “Von Zip” Martin and his alleged connection to Sean "Diddy" Combs.[18]


In 1999, Philips shared a Pulitzer Prize for Beat Reporting[19] with Michael Hiltzik of the Los Angeles Times for a year-long series that exposed corruption in the music business.[20][21]

In 1996, Philips won the George Polk Award for investigative reporting about American Black art and culture.[1][22] In 1997, he won the National Association of Black Journalists Award for coverage of the rap music business.[1]

In 1990, he won a Los Angeles Press Club award for stories about censorship.[1]


  1. ^ a b c d "The 1999 Pulitzer prize winners biography". Pulitzer. Retrieved May 29, 2012.
  2. ^ Watkins, Greg (June 6, 2012). "Vengeance in the verdict". Retrieved June 24, 2012.
  3. ^ "Winners Chuck Philips and Michael Hiltzik".
  4. ^ Phillips, Chuck. "Tupac Shakur, the LA Times and Why I'm Still Unemployed". The Village Voice. Retrieved May 20, 2021.
  5. ^ Quinn, Eithne (August 13, 2013). Nuthin' but a "G" Thang: The Culture and Commerce of Gangsta Rap. New York City: Columbia University Press. pp. 179–. ISBN 978-0-231-51810-9.
  6. ^ Laursen, Patti (May 3, 1993). "Women in Music". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved September 10, 2013.
  7. ^ Barnet, Richard D.; Burriss, Larry L. (2001). Controversies of the Music Industry. Santa Barbara, California: Greenwood Publishing Group. pp. 112–4. ISBN 978-0-313-31094-2.
  8. ^ Hogan, Richard Hogan (September 25, 2012). "Chuck Philips on life after the Los Angeles Times". Fishbowl LA/ Mediabistro. Archived from the original on November 5, 2012. Retrieved April 28, 2013.
  9. ^ Phillips, Chuck (September 6, 2002). "Who Killed Tupac Shakur?". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved May 20, 2021.
  10. ^ Garcia-Ajofrin, Isabel (September 25, 2012). "Entrevisa a Chuck Philips: "Ademas de lo de Tupac, Jimmy Henchman orderno disparar al trailer de Snoop Dogg"". Swagga. Retrieved September 25, 2012.
  11. ^ MTV News Staff. "Tupac Murder Suspect Orlando Anderson Dead". MTV News.
  12. ^ Guardian Staff (January 9, 2000). "Life and death in South Central LA". the Guardian.
  13. ^ Budnick, Dean; Baron, Josh (April 24, 2012). Ticket Masters: The Rise of the Concert Industry and How the Public Got Scalped. New York City: Penguin Group US. ISBN 978-1-101-58055-4.
  14. ^ a b Wilson, Simone (June 22, 2011). "Tupac Shakur, Notorious B.I.G. Murders and ex-LA Times Reporter Chuck Philips: A Timeline". LA Weekly.
  15. ^ a b c d Wilson, Simone; Romero, Dennis (June 22, 2011). "Chuck Philips demands L.A. Times apology on Tupac Shakur". LA Weekly. Retrieved May 29, 2012.
  16. ^ Reid, Shaheem (March 17, 2008). "Biggie, Diddy Knew Tupac Would Be Ambushed In 1994, Alleges Los Angeles Times Reporter". MTV News.
  17. ^ Starbury, Allen (September 12, 2012). "Writer Chuck Philips To Tweet Article Connecting Diddy To Late Harlem Kingpin 'Von Zip'". Baller Status. Retrieved October 21, 2013.
  18. ^ biz, m (September 18, 2012). "New Tupac Documents; Website Slated to Hit the Internet, Twitter in Honor of Rapper's Death". hiphopnewssource. Archived from the original on September 30, 2013. Retrieved September 24, 2013.
  19. ^ "1999 Pulitzer Prize winners for beat reporting". Columbia Journalism Review. Retrieved May 29, 2012.
  20. ^ Shaw, David (April 13, 1999). "2 Times Staffers Share Pulitzer for Beat Reporting". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved July 30, 2012.
  21. ^ Trounson, Rebecca (February 22, 2012). "Mark Saylor dies at 58; former Times editor oversaw Pulitzer-winning series". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved April 28, 2013.
  22. ^ "Times Wins Polk Awards for Music Industry, Fund-Raising Stories". Los Angeles Times. March 7, 1997. Retrieved September 14, 2013.

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