A new low has been reached.
This week, reports surfaced that Gary Coleman's cash-strapped, media-blitzing ex-wife Shannon Price staged and sold photos of the actor both before and after his death. Price's rep relunctantly admitted that her client took the photos but insisted "they were never meant to get out."
Well, today the first of the unconscionable photos has indeed surfaced.
The Globe paid a reported $10,000 for the photo—featured on its cover this morning—of Coleman in his hospital bed. His eyes are closed, there's a bandage on his head and tubes in his nose and mouth. Price posed leaning over the actor, staring directly into the camera. The photo is touted as his last.
And it turns out, while moral guidelines were clearly breached, legal ones at least weren't. At least not by the hospital.
Utah Valley Regional Medical Center has wasted no time in distancing itself from any culpability for the photo's horrendous publication, releasing the following statement this morning:
"In accordance with federal privacy guidelines, no pictures are taken by hospital staff of any patient without patient or family permission. Utah Valley Regional Medical Center staff was not involved in taking any photos of Mr. Coleman."
Price, meanwhle, has still not copped to selling the photo to the tabloid. Needless to say, neither she nor her rep has deigned to comment on today's publication.
(Originally published June 9, 2010, at 12:35 p.m. PT)