Rapper Mac Miller died last Friday in his home in Los Angeles at 26 from an apparent overdose. The music industry and the general public alike have been mourning the loss of the brilliant and daring artist. There have been countless tributes to Miller in mainstream media, like those from The New York Times, Rolling Stone and Pitchfork.
The problem lies in those media outlets and tweets that target and blame Mac Miller’s ex-girlfriend, Ariana Grande, for his overdose and death. Some are explicit, like those who have launched accusatory Instagram comments and tweets at Grande after the news of Miller’s death broke.
Unpopular opinion here, but Ariana Grande basically killed Mac Miller.
She dumped him when he was in his hour of need. She refused to help him with his substance abuse problems. She left him wandering in darkness and it killed him. Shame on you Ariana! #MacMiller #RIPMacMiller
— Becky (@BeckyEcki) September 7, 2018
I’m not gonna say Ariana Grande killed Mac Miller but saying “I’m here for you” when Demi Lovato overdosed and getting engaged a week after you broke up with Mac Miller definitely didn’t help his health. She could’ve been there for him. I mean they dated for years.
— SCIVMEXL (@sciameXL) September 7, 2018
@ArianaGrande you killed Mac Miller how do you feel?
— Adx (@MikeAdxx) September 7, 2018
Grande has disabled her Instagram comments and deleted comments on previous photos due to the harassment.
However, most mentions are more implicitly lodged in articles surrounding the tragic overdose.
TMZ’s article claimed that Miller’s substance abuse struggles resurfaced “in the wake of his breakup with Ariana Grande.” According to a Cosmopolitan article condemning treatment of Grande, the article was edited after backlash from the original comment, “Miller has had trouble recently with substance abuse…in the wake of his breakup with Ariana Grande,” to say that he has struggled with substance abuse for years prior to the breakup.
A subsequent TMZ article entitled, “Halsey Says She’s Looking Out For G-Eazy in Wake of Mac Miller’s Apparent OD,” seems to imply that Grande could have done more to keep Mac “out of any more trouble” as Halsey is now determined to do.
An article published by The Daily Mail describes Miller in the headline and body of the article as “Ariana Grande’s ex.” Its’ implicit accusation lies in the article’s mention of Grande ending their relationship and getting engaged to Pete Davidson “just one month later.”
The article also contains a thinly veiled suggestion that while Miller was there for Grande during a difficult time in her life, she failed to reciprocate. It describes how Miller “famously helped Grande overcome her grief after a terrorist attack in the UK at her Manchester concert in May last year. That June he went back to England with her to put on a defiant performance at a tribute concert she arranged.”
Articles from Variety, CNN, The New Yorker and more fail to write about Miller’s tragedy without mentioning his relationship with Grande, how she broke up with him due to his substance abuse or how quickly she moved from Miller to Pete Davidson.
Mentioning his overdose "in the wake of his breakup with Ariana Grande" is gross though, @TMZ. Don't put this on her.
— Ira (@ira) September 7, 2018
Ya’ll NEED to stop blaming Ariana for Mac Miller’s passing. They broke up and she moved on to live her life as someone should. I just watched her disable all her comments on everything. pic.twitter.com/2PtijGPZ4D
— Blaytz (@DaddyBlaytz) September 7, 2018
& ya’ll stop blaming Ariana Grande, sh*t is lame! She has nothing to do w/ Mac Miller’s choices. I know it’s sad but ya’ll can’t just find anyone to blame.
— Khalil Underwood (@RealKhalilU) September 7, 2018
An op-ed in the Independent said, “it’s time to end the blame game. Playing is helping no one. Instead, let’s shift the focus onto how to get addicts and those connected to them the support they need.”
Undoubtedly, addiction is what killed Mac Miller, not Ariana Grande. Media must work harder to eliminate any explicit or implicit accusations in coverage of addiction, overdose and death.
***If you or a loved one is struggling with addiction and needs help, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration has a free hotline available in English and Spanish, 24/7, 365 days a year. Call 1-800-662-HELP (4357).***