Social and Mainstream Media Responses to Mac Miller’s Death

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.

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.

There have been; however, an influx of tweets from users defending Grande and even an article or two condemning the accusation that she killed Miller by ending the relationship.


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).***

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