A French teenager live-streamed her suicide Tuesday afternoon on video streaming service Periscope, according to reports from French newspaper Info France. An investigation has been opened by French police.
Content warning: this story discusses sensitive subjects including suicide and rape. Also note that all quotes have been translated from French and may not be completely accurate.
According to the report, the young woman, age 19, threw herself in front of an RER C line train at the train station in Égly, Essonne, hours after announcing that she had to do something live. Reports indicate that more than 1,000 fans connected to watch the broadcast.
According to MetroNews, just before the teen’s suicide, she appeared on video, smoking a cigarette and stating that she intended to “send a message” with her act.
“Right now, I’ll explain everything. You’ll understand why. What’s going to happen, it may be very shocking. This video is not made for the buzz, but to send a message.”
Her original statement in French, for those who would prefer the untranslated version, reads “Tout à l’heure, je vous expliquerai tout. Vous comprendrez pourquoi. Ce qui va se passer, ça risque d’être très choquant. La vidéo n’est pas faite pour faire le buzz, mais pour passer un message.”
Moments later, the screen went black, and the sound of rescuers could be heard in the background. Rescuers (doctors from SAMU, the French emergency medical services, or Service d’Aide Médicale Urgente,) arrived on scene, too late to do more than record the death of the teenage victim. Eagle-eyed observers of the Periscope video had managed to identify the site as Égly station, but were unable to notify rescuers in time to stop the suicide.
According to le Parisien, which first broke the story, rail traffic was interrupted in both directions for 18 hours while police reconstructed what had happened.
The teenager allegedly explained the reasons for her actions by admitting that she had been the victim of rape, and reports indicate that she gave the name of her alleged rapist before jumping. The act was also recorded by the Égly station’s CCTV cameras, and, after the arrival of firefighters, police seized the young woman’s phone, which is now in the hands of Égly prosecutors and the local Brigade Territorial Gendarmerie, who will attempt to determine the exact circumstances which led to this tragedy.
Periscope, which launched last year, is a live video streaming app for Android and iPhone. It was originally conceived by Kayvon Beykpour when he was in Istanbul to witness the protests in Taksim Square, after he discovered that, while he could read about the protests on Twitter, nobody had video available. Since its initial release in March, 2015, the app has grown to over 10 million users worldwide, and Periscope says that over 40 years worth of video are watched daily, and the company was acquired by Twitter in January, 2015, before the official release.
And this isn’t the first time that Periscope has been used to record a suicide live. According to the Daily Mail, in February this year, 21-year-old Marvin Douglass Lancaster III allegedly used Periscope to broadcast his own suicide inside Club Rayne in Tampa, Florida. Periscope has since removed the video, but seven others were injured by gunfire.
Meanwhile, according to The New York Times, French police, through local prosecutor Eric Lallement, have indicated that the teenager “allegedly sent an SMS to one of her close relations, several minutes before her death, to announce her intentions. Furthermore, she allegedly made statements to Internet users, via the Periscope application, to explain her act.”
The young woman’s video has also been removed from Periscope as of this time, but excerpts have been uploaded to YouTube, with the moment of her suicide blacked out.
[Image via YouTube/channel BUZZ DU WEB RGTV®]