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Fox Sued For Broadcasting Live Suicide by Family of Deceased

By Alexandra Ward   |  

The family of an Arizona man whose suicide was inadvertently broadcast during a live Fox News segment of a car chase last year has sued the network.

Cameras were rolling last September as JoDon Romero, 32, led police on a high-speed car chase in the desert near Salome, Ariz. After exchanging gunfire with cops, Romero exited his car, stumbled, stood up, and shot himself in the head. Fox cut to host Shepard Smith who could be heard yelling at the control room to "get off, get off, get off, get off it."

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Fox later apologized for the "severe human error" in failing to censor the footage, but the clip made its way online within minutes where it could be viewed over and over and over again.

Angela Rodriguez, the mother of Romero's three sons, aged 9, 13, and 15, filed suit earlier this month against News Corp., Fox Entertainment Group, and Fox News Network claiming that her sons suffered extreme emotional distress after seeing the video of their father's suicide online.

"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 suit reads. "After school, the older boys went home and began looking for the suicide on the Internet." The two boys then searched out the footage on YouTube and "as they watched, they realized in horror that they were watching their father."

The two older children haven't been able to return to school since viewing the footage, according to the suit, and a psychological evaluation shows evidence of "post-traumatic stress disorder that included flashbacks, repeated thoughts and feelings associated with viewing the video of their father shooting himself in the head, re-experiencing trauma, sleep disturbance, and intrusive thoughts."

The complaint, which seeks unspecified damages, alleges that Fox successfully ran a delay and prevented the footage from being aired in its Phoenix market, but ran it live in other markets.

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