Fox News’ inadvertent airing of a man committing suicide has put anchor Shepard Smith in the tough place of having to apologize to viewers not expecting to see such graphic violence. In a video apology, the Fox News anchor explained what went wrong on Fox’s end.
As word of Fox News’ suicide footage mistake spreads, Shepard Smith is trying to make amends. By all accounts, neither he nor anyone on the news team intended to shock viewers with live footage of a man committing suicide.
“Well, some explaining to do,” a contrite Shepard Smith can be heard saying in the video above. Moments before the Fox News apology was taped, the station failed to cut away from the tragic end of a carjacking soon enough.
After a prolonged car chase in Arizona, an unidentified man exited his vehicle, then ran haphazardly while cameras from inside a helicopter looked down. The man, with his back to the helicopter, then stopped, pulled out a gun and quickly shot himself in the head, falling to the ground.
The entire scene shouldn’t have aired on Fox News, which was operating on a 5-second delay, but somehow, that safeguard fell through. As the footage rolled on television, Shepard Smith shouted repeatedly, “Get off it! Get off it!” in an effort to have the feed changed before it was too late.
“We really messed up, and we’re all really sorry,” he went on to say as a part of Fox News’ apology for airing the suicide. “That didn’t belong on TV.”
“We took every precaution we knew how to take to keep that from being on TV. And I personally apologize to you that that happened … It is insensitive, it is just wrong. And that won’t happen again on my watch.”
In a statement, Michael Clemente, Executive Vice President of Fox News, wrote, “We took every precaution to avoid any such live incident by putting the helicopter pictures on a five-second delay. Unfortunately, this mistake was the result of a severe human error, and we apologize for what viewers ultimately saw on the screen.”