Fox News Sued Over Suicide Telecast

Jun 18, 2013  •  Post A Comment

Fox News has been sued by the family of an Arizona man whose suicide was televised live, according to The Hollywood Reporter’s Hollywood, Esq.

Angela Rodriguez, the mother of the man’s three sons, who are 9, 13 and 15 years old, alleges in a complaint that they suffered extreme emotional distress after seeing an online video of the suicide, the story notes. Fox News Channel, Fox Entertainment Group and News Corp. are named as plaintiffs.

The footage was watched by millions of viewers when it aired live on the cable network in September 2012, as Fox News covered an 80-mile police pursuit of JoDon Romero. During the chase, Romero fired at squad cars and news helicopters, eventually leaving his car in the desert and running down a dirt road before shooting himself in the head.

When the event aired on "Studio B with Shepard Smith," Smith, who had been narrating the coverage, yelled at the control room to stop airing the footage. "Get off, get off, get off, get off, get off, get off, get off — get off it, get off it, get off it!" he yelled, the piece reports. Smith later apologized for airing the footage.

The lawsuit says Romero’s three sons were in school at the time, and "Rumor of a suicide broadcast on live television generated considerable buzz among the students at the school, particularly with respect to the two older boys." The boys found footage on YouTube and then "as they watched, they realized in horror that they were watching their father."

Neither of the two older children has returned to school since watching the footage, and a psychologist has found they have symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder, the lawsuit alleges.

Fox News said it won’t comment on pending litigation.

2 Comments

  1. Ambulance chasing, sensationalistic news will eventually get you in trouble. I predict an out-of-court, confidential settlement with denial of any wrong doing or admission of error. Sound familiar? It’s the new corporate America. “People” who get away with whatever they can afford.

  2. I guess this would mean that anyone that lost someone on 9/11 can sue every news network that has ever aired footage of the Twin Towers coming down. Or what about the footage of the recent terrorist bombing at the Boston Marathon? What about air shows where we see stunt pilots loosing control and their airplanes crash killing them? How many times have we seen JFK getting assassinated? Or is it the suicide angle? So I guess it is OK to show terrorists over and over committing suicide and murder.
    How many times have we seen that footage over and over and over.
    Plus the You Tube video is still up there for anyone to see. What’s up with that? Apparently it doesn’t violate any You Tube policies? Seems like there was multiple links on You Tube to watch this. Why isn’t You Tube being sued as well?
    I am not trying to be unsympathetic here but Fox News was making an effort to not air the footage and they certainly did not upload it to You Tube!! Seems like a sad tragic lawsuit trying to get any money they can out of Fox.

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