The family of the man whose suicide Fox News accidentally aired is suing the network.
Last September, the network was following a high speed car chase in Arizona when driver JoDon Romero got out of his car and shot himself. The broadcast failed to cut away in time, and viewers saw the apparent suicide. Shep Smith, who was anchoring at the time, apologized profusely, saying, "We really messed up. And we're all very sorry."
Courthouse News Service reported that Angela Rodriguez, the mother of three of Romero's children, is suing the network and News Corp. in Maricopa County Court. She has claimed "emotional distress" to her kids, saying that the two oldest children heard about the suicide while they were at school, watched the clip when they got home and realized it was their father.
The lawsuit said that the children "have been, and continue to be, severely traumatized" by the footage. They have flashbacks, trauma, sleep disturbances and intrusive thoughts, according to the suit, and are so depressed that they cannot go to school.
Smith said in September that the network created a five-second delay when Romero got out of his car with a gun. In a statement apologizing for showing the footage, executive vice-president of news editorial Michael Clemente said that the broadcast the result of "a severe human error." The local Fox affiliate in Phoenix, which supplied the live feed, employed a seven-second delay, and cut away from the footage without showing the suicide.