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Christine Chubbuck's suicide

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"In keeping up with channel 40's policy in bringing you the latest in blood and guts in living color, you are gonna see another first... an attempted suicide." - Christine Chubbuck

Christine Chubbuck's suicide was an incident that occurred at Florida on the morning of July 15, 1974. She was known to be the very first person to commit suicide on a live television broadcast. She committed suicide because of depression.

Incident

Chubbuck posing for a picture.

She was covering a news story about a shooting at a local restaurant when the previously recorded clip for the story jammed. Chubbuck shrugged it off and said to the viewers, "In keeping up with channel 40"s policy in bringing you the latest in blood and guts in living color, you are gonna see another first...an attempted suicide." She then reaches under the desk and pulls out a revolver and points it behind her right ear and pulls the trigger. She fell violently forward with her head slamming face-first into the desk. The station quickly went dark then they started running public service announcements and then a movie. Some television viewers were frightened and even called the police.

After the incident, news director Mike Simmons found some papers that Chubbuck has been reading her newscast. It contained a complete script of her program, Which includes not only the shooting, but also a third-person account to be read by whichever staff member took over the broadcast after the incident. He said her script called for her condition to be listed as "critical."

Chubbuck was taken to Sarasota Memorial Hospital. Fourteen hours later, she was pronounced dead.

Aftermath

Chubbuck's body was cremated. The funeral ceremony was held on a beach, where her ashes were scattered into the Gulf of Mexico. Around 120 people attended, including local officials who had appeared on her show. Three songs by Chubbuck's favorite singer, Roberta Flack were played. Presbyterian minister Thomas Beason delivered a speech, stating, "We suffer at our sense of loss, we are frightened by her rage, we are guilty in the face of her rejection, we are hurt by her choice of isolation and we are confused by her message."

The footage of Chubbuck's suicide was never seen since its original broadcast. The known person to keep it was station owner Robert Nelson. It was confirmed in June 2016 that the footage exists. There are a few that really look like the original but unknown if it was the real footage.

In 2016, it spawned two films named Christine and Kate Plays Christine. They were both played at the 2016 Sundance Film Festival.

In 2021, an amateur audio recording of the broadcast was discovered and posted on YouTube; its authenticity was quickly verified by comparing the voice heard to existing recordings of Chubbuck's voice, and further verified when Christine's brother Greg threatened to sue the original uploader. Said recording ends with the gunshot and the person creating the recording audibly muttering "Wow...".

Trivia

  • Lost Media Wiki user, Buddy was one of the viewers of the incident when he was ten or eleven.

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