Is Fox News Responsible for Kids Seeing Their Dad's Suicide?
|Seconds before JoDon Romero committed suicide.|
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.
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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.
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Follow Matthew Hendley on Twitter at @MatthewHendley.