In what may prove a bad omenÂ for US President Donald Trump, the boss of the worldâ€™s biggest gossip empire has finally cut him loose.
Over the weekend, Harvey Levin and his celebrity website TMZ blasted Mr Trump for criticising NBA star LeBron James.
â€śHeâ€™s got to go!!â€ť the gossip boss wrote on Twitter on Saturday.
In caseÂ that wasnâ€™t clear enough, Mr Levin included a link to a new TMZ article that excoriated Mr Trump as â€śthe most vile President everâ€ť.
And the insults kept coming.
Mr Trump isÂ â€śthe man who callously separated children from their parents and forever traumatised themâ€ť, TMZ opined. He â€śbumbles through speechesâ€ť and leads a â€ścampaign of hatred and prejudiceâ€ť. And he is â€śgrossly insecureâ€ť.
Donald Trump Calls LeBron James, Don Lemon Dumb https://t.co/UWRUgrzE1T
â€” TMZ (@TMZ) August 4, 2018
But wait, thereâ€™s more.
Mr Trump is â€śmanic over and obsessed with cable newsâ€ť. He â€śsimply cannot handle criticism and responds with wild and baseless personal attacksâ€ť.
To really rub it in, the anonymous author of the TMZ article (who may or may not have been Mr Levin) concluded by saying it was â€śan honor to be includedâ€ť on Mr Trumpâ€™s â€śEnemies Listâ€ť.
This was highly significant because both Mr Levin and TMZ had, until that moment, been unfailingly supportive of the US President.
The trigger for this caustic attack was, ostensibly, Mr Trumpâ€™s attack onÂ LeBron James.
Over the weekend, the US PresidentÂ slammedÂ the basketball star as dumb for appearing on CNN, hisÂ avowed nemesis.
â€śLeBron James was just interviewed by the dumbest man on television, Don Lemon. He made LeBron look smart, which isnâ€™t easy to do. I like Mike!â€ť
Don Lemon is a black CNN interviewer, while the reference to â€śMikeâ€ť is probably to NBA legend Michael Jordan.
Jordan rushed to LeBronâ€™s defence after the Twitter post, issuing a statementÂ praising James for â€śdoing an amazing job for his communityâ€ť.
Mr Trump was upset byÂ theÂ CNN interview after the legendary hoopster slammed the president as divisive.
â€śWhat Iâ€™ve noticedÂ over the past few months, [Trumpâ€™s] kinda used sports to kinda divide us, and thatâ€™s something that I canâ€™t relate to,â€ť James said.
That comment was taken as a reference to White House denunciations of the recent campaign by American football teams to â€śtake the kneeâ€ť â€“ the protest that saw entire teams kneel during the playing of the national anthem.
The presidentâ€™s criticism appearedÂ especially tone deaf because, as TMZ pointed out, LeBron James has recently opened an entire school forÂ at-risk children in his hometown of Akron.
Even First Lady Melania Trump sensed it was a misjudged attack andÂ quickly distanced herself.
James was â€śworking to do good things on behalf of our next generationâ€ť, Mrs Trumpâ€™s spokesperson said.
This may also be why TMZ rushed to the basketballerâ€™s defence.
But it was an unusual switch of allegiance for Levin.
The lawyer-turned-gossip merchantÂ used his online tabloid site throughout the 2016 presidential election to staunchly defend Mr Trump.
Levin and Trump spoke â€śfrequentlyâ€ť during the race, according to reports.
â€śThere was a point Harvey would make jokes in the newsroom that he would be press secretary or in the Cabinet, but we got the impression he was only half joking,â€ť a former TMZ staffer told The Daily Beast in June.
The Daily Beast reported that Levin even attempted to personally discredit sexual misconduct allegations against the president by calling airlines to ask how their armrests worked in the 1970s, after US woman Jessica Leeds accused Mr Trump of groping her during a flight.
â€śHarvey was convinced that, when this incident occurred, armrests didnâ€™t lift up,â€ť a TMZ source said. â€śHe wanted to find a way to say sheâ€™s a liar.â€ť
Mid-campaign, Levin even personally conducted a soft interview of the US President, full of anecdotes about his childhood, TV career and marriage, inside Mr Trumpâ€™s lavish apartment. ItÂ aired as an hour-long special on Fox News. At the time Levin said he â€ślovedâ€ť the â€śsuper interestingâ€ť interview.
So why the sudden change? Some have speculated there was a personal falling out, others that LevinÂ believes the president is doomed and wants to cut ties.
For whatever reason, Harvey Levin, once one of the presidentâ€™s most powerful media backers, has had enough.