The death by suicide of Ronnie McNutt that was live-streamed last month still haunts the internet and especially the social media platform, TikTok.
Ten days after his suicide, various platforms continue to struggle with taking down the video as trolls persist with uploading the video. Millions of children globally are being cautioned to stay off TikTok to avoid being exposed to the horrific suicide video excerpt. The 33-year-old McNutt had taken to Facebook initiating a live broadcast that continued until he took his own life.
Josh Steen a close friend of Ronnie McNutt has now opened up about the circumstances surrounding his friend’s tragic end. Steen also blames Facebook for their lack of human response to a crisis like this. McNutt an Army veteran has suffered from PTSD after serving multiple tours during the Iraqi war. McNutt and Steen have been working in local theatre and also teamed up on a podcast called JustUs Geeks. The horrific suicide made its way onto various digital platforms with users continuously uploading the shocking video.
Speaking to Heavy.com, Steen revealed that the video excerpt going viral on various social media platforms is just an excerpt of a longer stream. According to Steen, he believes that his friend began the live stream to ramble about his relationship woes and not to commit suicide. He said McNutt had often gone on Facebook Live to “ramble,” but in this case, he was “incredibly drunk, and that plus his recent relationship issues led to the end result.”
Steen speaking about the McNutt video,
“He didn’t seem to be the same guy that left for Iraq once he exited the service. I spent many a late night in our studio, via text message, and in-person talking with him about life and his struggles. Mental health issues are very very real, and I honestly think that there are a lot of people who struggle with all areas of mental illness who let it go untreated. Or treat it with other things, it seems,” Steen said.
During his Live, once a podcast listener and friend had notified me that this was all going on, I started watching and gauged the situation. I tried roundabout ways to get associated friends to reach others to prevent what inevitably happened from happening. All of these people were commenting and trying to reach out to him, and he was so upset and inebriated that he was just being incredibly hurtful to them and himself. I tried multiple times to call him, from my cell phone and our phone at the theatre; both numbers he would easily recognize. I watched him pick his phone up, think for a second, and then decline my calls. I really thought that if I could just get him to break his focus for just a second it would be alright. His laugh always made me laugh, and I’m glad that I have our archives to back through to hear it whenever I want to now.Josh Steen speaking to Heavy.com
Facebook was notified of the video while McNutt was still alive, it is understood that on the first attempt to end his life the gun misfired. This was the moment that Steen was informed of what was playing out on the Facebook live broadcast. He said, “I actually started reporting the video stream while he was still alive and talking; no response from Facebook.”
It is also believed that police officers were just outside his door watching the live stream. The police officers are seen in the video entering the apartment after the fatal gunshot went off, instead of attempting to avert the suicide. Josh Steen continued to contact Facebook for hours to request that the video be removed. McNutt had died by suicide at approximately 10:30 p.m and Facebook responded to him around 11:51 p.m. According to a screenshot shared by Steen, Facebook’s reply reads in part: “This post will remain on Facebook because we only remove content that goes against our Community Standards. Our standards don’t allow things that encourage suicide or self-injury.”
Steen said he believes it was past 1 a.m. when Facebook eventually removed the suicide video, but by that time he had already seen it reposted in at least one private group. He said, “I called Facebook, who is supposed to have 24/7 support; no answer.”
“Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and other social platforms could ban accounts, IPs, and stop the spread of this video. YouTube can flag you for using two seconds of a copyrighted song, but can’t seem to filter out my friend ending his life,” Steen said.
The global lockdown has everyone’s mental health in a spin! Have you checked out our Mental Health resources by Indian Spice click here
The South African Depression And Anxiety Group (SADAG) is Africa’s largest mental health support and advocacy group open 7 days a week from 8 am – 8 pm. If you need a referral to a psychologist, psychiatrist or support group call SADAG on 011 234 4837 or 0800 20 50 26 and speak to a trained counsellor who can assist. Substance abuse hotline: 0800 12 13 14 is available 24hrs or alternatively email Zane on email@example.com
Mental health India Helplines: Aasra: 022 2754 6669; Sneha India Foundation: +914424640050 and Sanjivini: 011-24311918
Stay at home if you feel unwell. If you have a fever, cough and difficulty breathing, seek medical attention and call in advance. Connect with the Coronavirus Whatsapp services below
Connect with the Coronavirus Whatsapp services below
- Coronavirus India Whatsapp tap here
- Coronavirus South Africa Whatsapp tap here
- SA Hotline Number: 0800 029 999
For more related coronavirus (COVID-19) latest news and stories click here