Is Fox News Responsible for Kids Seeing Their Dad's Suicide?

Categories: Morning Poll
Seconds before JoDon Romero committed suicide.
The national media (and rest of the local media) have finally discovered the lawsuit we wrote about last week, resulting from Fox News airing a man's suicide on live television last year.

According to the lawsuit filed in Maricopa County, two of JoDon Romero's kids heard at school about a suicide being shown on TV, then went home and watched the clip on YouTube -- and realized it was their father who gave up running from police, and put a gun to his head and pulled the trigger.

See also:
-Fox News Sued After Kids Watch Their Dad Commit Suicide
-Jodon Romero Was Out of Prison for Almost Four Whole Months
-Fox News Just Showed a Man Shoot Himself in the Head on Live TV

The local Fox affiliate, Fox 10, was following the whole scene in its helicopter, and it was being broadcast live across the country on Fox News' Studio B, hosted by Shepard Smith.

The local Fox station, working on a delay, cut out as Romero pulled out a gun and put it to his head, finally giving up on a lengthy police chase after Romero stole a car in Phoenix.

Despite Smith's repeated pleas live on the air to "get off" the video, there wasn't enough time, and Romero killed himself in front of a national TV audience.

Romero's two oldest children, one in high school, and the other in middle school, watched the clip on YouTube after getting home from school.

"As they watched, they realized the horror that they were watching their father," the lawsuit states.

Neither boy has been able to return to school since, the lawsuit contends.

According to the lawsuit, a psychologist found that the boys have "approximately equivalent symptoms 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 boys will require "long-term psychiatric and/or psychological treatment," the lawsuit claims, and the youngest son is also suffering some emotional distress, despite not being exposed to the video, according to the lawsuit.

The lawsuit alleges intentional and negligent infliction of emotional distress, and the plaintiff, the boys' mother, is seeking damages.

Do you think Fox News should be forced to pay up?

Cast your vote below:

Send feedback and tips to the author.
Follow Matthew Hendley on Twitter at @MatthewHendley.

Sponsor Content

My Voice Nation Help

Sorry for the whole story, but its not FOX fault. Its just the way we live in the digital age. The guy decided to lived by the sword and died by the sword. Blame all on his side of the fence for who he is and please get a grip. Its sad but its reality. 


So, running home from school to watch someone else's dad/son/brother commit suicide on TV is really, really cool but watching you're own dad do it, I guess, not so much.  It's a tragedy for those kids in many ways....but as much as I hate Fox News - not it's fault.


This guy just got out of prison prior to stealing a carand getting into a running gun battle with pursuing police prior to shooting himself.

I'm guessing he had already exposed his kids to much worse than his self inflicted death.

eric.nelson745 topcommenter

It all happened in the blink of an eye even though the feed was on five second delay. No, Fox is responsible for being stupid on many levels, but not about this one.

valleynative topcommenter

What they saw was him putting a gun to his head and then falling over.  It's really a much less gruesome sight than TV, movies and video games would lead them to imagine if they had only heard about it and not seen it.

Seeing him stumble around waving his arms like a drunken monkey as he's running from the vehicle is more disturbing.


These kids searched for this to watch on youtube. They shouldn't blame anybody but themselves. It doesn't matter who was committing  suicide the fact that they wanted to watch is sick in it self.


If I understand the article correctly the kids did not see the video 'live', rather they watched it at home on YouTube, based on having heard from other kids that there was a live suicide. Up to the point where they realized the guy was their father I suppose they might have thought it was pretty neat to watch some guy cap himself in front of the cops.

Only once they realized it was 'dear old Dad' did they start to realize the reality of the situation and they began to feel the trauma of the situation.

Do I agree with Fox airing it without delay. Hell no.

But, if the family wasn't suing the deep pockets of Fox to make up for the loser father, they would be suing the cops for chasing him until he capped himself.

While I have empathy for the children I don't agree with the lawsuit....

If the father was working for a living and not involved in stealing the property of others the kids wouldn't be dealing with this trauma in the first place.

eric.nelson745 topcommenter

@valleynative Yeah. If was in a movie, it would be close-up and the kids would see blood and brain material spewing forth.

Now Trending

Phoenix Concert Tickets

From the Vault