On July 15, 1974 WXLT (now WWSB) host Christine Chubbuck pulled out a gun and shot herself live, on-air.
Chubbuck’s last words were “In keeping with Channel 40’s policy of bringing you the latest in blood and guts and in living color, you are going to see another first – an attempted suicide.” Chubbuck, 29, died 14 hours later at Sarasota Memorial Hospital.
Last year, two different films about Chubbuck’s suicide appeared at Sundance, one was a documentary and the other was a narrative drama. But the actual video of the suicide was presumed lost.
Yesterday, a YouTube user named kyuss uploaded a grainy video purported to be the suicide. We will not be embedding the video.
How kyuss got the video is the question since Vulture reported in June the tape of the on-air suicide had been kept by the widow of the man who owned the station at the time of Chubbuck’s death, Robert Nelson.
When he died, it stayed in her possession. But after the Sundance debut of the quasi-documentary Kate Plays Christine, in which a former news station employee suggests that Nelson might have the tape, people started contacting her asking to see it. The attempts made her uncomfortable, so she gave it to an unnamed “very large law firm” for safekeeping. She says she has no plans to ever make it available and only held on to the tape to honor her husband’s wishes. It seems, then, that the wait to see a tape nobody really needs to see continues.