The Fox News Channel has issued an apology after broadcasting live footage of a man’s suicide on national television, according to Yahoo! News. After leading Arizona police on a high-speed chase, an unidentified man exited his vehicle, produced a handgun, and proceeded to take his own life. The broadcast shocked the nation, prompting the company to apologize to its viewers.
Michael Clemente, executive vice-president of news editorial at Fox News, explained that attempts to shield viewers from the suicide were ultimately unsuccessful.
“We took every precaution to avoid any such live incident by putting the helicopter pictures on a five-second delay,” Clemente said. “Unfortunately, this mistake was the result of a severe human error and we apologise for what viewers ultimately saw on the screen.”
BBC reports that the chase began when a man allegedly stole a car at gunpoint from a Phoenix, Arizona restaurant on Friday afternoon. After locating the vehicle, officers promptly gave chase. At one point during the pursuit, the suspect reportedly fire several shots at police, though no one was injured as a result.
The suspect soon led officers on a chase through the desert. Upon stopping and exiting the vehicle, the man reportedly ran down a dirt road. With news helicopters swirling overhead, the suspect placed a gun to his head and pulled the trigger. The shocking incident was delivered live and uncut to viewers, much to the absolute horror of veteran news anchor Shepard Smith. As soon as producers realized what had occurred, the channel cut to commercial.
“We really messed up, and we’re all very sorry,” Smith explained to viewers after the break. “That didn’t belong on TV. We took every precaution we knew how to take to keep that from being on TV and I personally apologize to you that that happened.”
Were you affected by Fox News’ broadcast of the Arizona suicide?