19-year-old Commits Suicide on Justin.tv

306 Comments

In a striking display of the power of live video, Abraham K. Biggs committed suicide on Wednesday while broadcasting himself on video site Justin.tv. As we understand it from various forum posts, the 19-year-old Floridian was apparently egged on by commenters on Justin.tv and fellow forum users on bodybuilding.com. Biggs overdosed on pills while on camera and appeared to be breathing for hours until watchers realized he might be serious, at which point they alerted the police. The video kept running until police and EMTs broke Biggs’ door down and blocked the camera’s view. [digg=http://digg.com/people/19_year_old_Commits_Suicide_on_Justin_tv]

We confirmed Biggs’ death with the Broward County medical examiner. The Justin.tv video and many of the forum posts have been taken down.

When asked about the broadcast via email, Justin.tv CEO Michael Seibel said:

As for the broadcaster incident last night, we don’t comment on individual videos, however, our policy prohibits inappropriate content on Justin.tv. We rely on the community to flag videos that they feel are objectionable. Once a video is flagged, it is reviewed and quickly removed from the system if it violates our Terms of Use.

We won’t post the disturbing content here, but much of it is still online. Images of the broadcast have been posted here and here, and there’s also a suicide note from Biggs, who went by the screenname CandyJunkie. An account of forum users watching the broadcast and calling the police is here. There are also rest-in-peace comments on what appears to be Biggs’ MySpace page. The Justin.tv broadcast used to be here.

The contention that filming and uploading (and even hosting video of) a crime is a crime as well might not be valid, but given the very nature of live broadcasts, the issue becomes more complicated.

And it’s not as if technology enabled the taking of a life, or as if this hasn’t happened before. A British man hung himself last year after allegedly being goaded on by fellow users on Paltalk, another live video site. There was even a widely distributed movie on the topic of live-streamed killings released earlier this year called Untraceable. But last night’s incident raises a thought-provoking question regarding free hosting of live broadcasts — what could sites like Justin.tv possibly do to prevent live-streamed snuff films?

Justin.tv has already come under fire for another problem with live broadcasts — copyright infringement. The Premier League is reportedly threatening legal action against the site over unauthorized broadcasts of soccer games. Justin.tv, which is a free service, has maintained it complies with takedown requests according to the law — but with live broadcasts, the key event often ends before lawyers can get involved. Or in Biggs’ case, before people who care about him could get through.

306 Comments

MasterRanger

One’s life can become so completely screwed up that the only way out is suicide. Unfortunately in every suicide case I’ve ever seen, there is another solution that was completely ignored: hard work. This guy admits in his note that his family gave him every opportunity to make something out of himself, indeed he was still in school, but just kept screwing things up. This tells me he was too damn sorry to work his way out of the hole he’d dug for himself.

Natural Selection FTW.

MALL's

** I agree with this comment**
This kid gets egged on by comments to kill himself on a live broadcast in his room. How pathetic can you be if people over the internet can convince you to kill yourself? He over dosed on pills then passes out and dies. It says the police later busted into the room and covered the camera. That is where it gets odd. How did the anyone no what house it was to even call the police? Was the front door open? A lot of unanswered questions.

Some people are just attention whores. If you are going to kill yourself why do you need to do it on a live broadcast? It’s truly just sad.

mc

I too read the forums about this incident and it is perfectly clear that the poor guy had already taken the pills before writing his suicide note. So how can anybody be accused of egging him on or bullying him? Itis clear that he was a disturbed person and it appears that he had tried this before hence some people might have made remarks which look like they egged him on. The web breeds alot of weird, shocking and wonderful stuff, but sloppy journalism is a big problem.

Hate or Ban

This kid gets egged on by comments to kill himself on a live broadcast in his room. How pathetic can you be if people over the internet can convince you to kill yourself? He over dosed on pills then passes out and dies. It says the police later busted into the room and covered the camera. That is where it gets odd. How did the anyone no what house it was to even call the police? Was the front door open? A lot of unanswered questions.

Some people are just attention whores. If you are going to kill yourself why do you need to do it on a live broadcast? It’s truly just sad.

Cait

I disagree. What kind of world do we live in when people turn their backs on an OBVIOUSLY very troubled person? Its clear he wanted the blog would have never been writen saying how sorry he was. It a loss of faith…and its not as pathetic as your words… calling out a dead person. He was asking for help. Seeing if anyone cared…otherwise he wouldnt have put it online. Its a silent cry for help..but it was there none the less. And you, my friend failed to see it as did millions of others..Thats whats sad. Not that someone is dead. That millions turned their heads while a SMALL amount of people saw what I did. Someone who needed help.

cat

you can search the IP location and im sure they have other ways of tracking

Mobile Answers

I was present at said live cast. I only was there for about say 15 minutes, I saw him starting to sleep – I got bored thinking it was probably some weird people watching a guy sleep. In the chat it’s not like they say it was with people egging him on – it really wasn’t like that.

The media and blogs are trying to make it seem like he was pushed into it and convinced to do it by chatters but that’s simply not what happened. He was already decided to do it. The conversation was mostly random stuff and yea there were people saying things like go for it, but most of the chat was people asking why and there were people saying random stuff that had no relevance. Some were asking others how long they had been watching, and others still were telling him not to do it – including one creepy religious guy/gal who was spouting off biblical verses. But asides from that you won’t hear the media and that includes newteevee talk about the people who told him not to. People who told him that his life no matter how bad was worth living.

You simply won’t hear about that because they either don’t know, or the story just sounds better to ignore that fact.

Carolina

The media probably doesn’t focus on the people who tried to talk him out of it because this is expected, what is shocking is the fact that there were people egging him on. That is what is disturbing.

Sean

“justin.tv is pretty much finished as a startup now. Way too much bad press :( It will be marred by this forever.”

If only that were true – but i fear this kind of incident will only raise the profile of justin.tv – Many people who had never heard of it before are gonna rush over there to see what the fuss is all about.

Sean

bradleybradwell

This is so unfortunate how such a young person is forced to take his own life. Unable to handle the stress of life, and worst of all not able to ask for help(or maybe there is no help). This is becoming an all to often occurrence especially in relation to the internet. People this young shouldn’t have to suffer the consequences of not getting the help they need. With this suicide, although help is available, it’s in my opinion not advertised throughout the world as they way to go when dealing with personal life issues/problems.

My thoughts and prayers go out to the family and friends of this young lad. I’m so sorry to hear about your loss, but moreover how the young man wasn’t able to sort out his matters and difficulties.

erica

justin tv builds that kind of community- similar to youtube where neagativity and hostility reign.
The guy named michael who spoke on the companies behalf is the biggest tool to hit san fran since the PC.
I dont see them getting past this – they are already on my blogs deathwatch, no pun intended

Cassi

You shouldn’t link to those videos. This is hard enough on the family without it being everywhere they look and everyone being able to see me.

Trust me, news coverage does not help the healing process.

davidthefat

“Obviously butthurt over life, Candyjunkie proceeds to post a goodbye thread on a bodybuilding forum to inform the people of his commitment to an hero.

ALL TIMES EST

* Nov 19, 2008 4:56 AM: User CandyJunkie of BodyBuilding forums create a topic in the misc subforum announcing his intended suicide. 

Thread: Ask a guy who is gonna OD (again) tonight anything,: http://forum.bodybuilding.com/showthread.php?p=247628331

* Nov 19, 2008 5:17-5:18 AM: CandyJunkie lists the drugs he has taken and will overdose on: 16mg xanax, 7 roxies, 3 ultram and lexapro as his remaining drug. He leaves a copypasta suicide note. 

Thread: I’m gonna have 40 2mg bars of Xanax Tonight! http://forum.bodybuilding.com/showthread.php?t=111785651

Thread: I’m trippin on bars on my webcam http://forum.bodybuilding.com/showthread.php?t=112065441

* Nov 19, 2008 5:32-5:51 AM: User izaktj reports CandyJunkie is trying to sleep. Miscers play around with the thought of calling the cops, but ultimately shrug off the issue and thread. CandyJunkie's webcam continues to roll as he lays motionless during the 6 hours the thread is ignored. 

* Nov 19, 2008 12:04 PM: User baby_matty bumps thread, stating that CandyJunkie is "still laying there." Posters begin to suspect that CandyJunkie is no longer breathing because of the lack of movement on his webcam, pertaining to the expanding of the ribcage during respiration. 

* Nov 19, 2008 1:03 PM: After alerting forum moderators, user AlexNipples receives controversial response from moderator "Roxie" regarding taking action to save CandyJunkie's life. 

* Nov 19, 2008 1:05 PM: User IVEverLow posts thread linking to CandyJunkie's phone number. A few minutes later, user Eshamed51 calls, is forwarded to voicemail and leaves infamous message "Do it faggot." Posters begin to discuss CandyJunkie's lack of movement as a sign of death or drug induced coma. 

* Nov 19, 2008 1:53 PM: User Bulker reports CandyJunkie's personal information, including name and number: Abraham Briggs; 954.918.1247. Suggests that they call cops. Posters discuss the legitimacy of the broadcast, considering the possibility that the video is a still image or on a loop. 

* Nov 19, 2008 2:09 PM: Users take action. Bulker sends failed email to Miami police department, posts the Miami Police department contact information and urges other posters to contact. 

* Nov 19, 2008 2:32 PM: Bulker calls Miami Police department 3 times with success, but fails to convey the urgency in his message. 

* Nov 19, 2008 2:41 PM: User mophatthedamaja confirms CandyJunkie's suicide note is indeed copypasta, while Normg002 posts link to CandyJunkie's myspace page. 

* Nov 19, 2008 2:55 PM: User jjlee138 announces successful communication with police; reports they are en route to CandyJunkie's location. 

* Nov 19, 2008 3:30 PM: Live on webcam, Broward County police break down CandyJunkie's door and secures the area for an EMT to enter. A cop covers the webcam. The broadcast ends. 

Forced entry to scene of an hero http://www.vkmag.com/videos/videos_man_pleegt_zelfmoord_achter_webcam/

* Nov 19, 2008 10:58 PM: Unconfirmed reports regarding Abraham's status. 

[edit] The Note
M-I-C-K-E-Y…
M-I-C-K-E-Y…

This note has been confirmed to be copypasta.

To Whom It May Concern, I am going to leave this for whoever stumbles across my bookmarks later on. I hate myself and I hate living. I think that if someone who knows me reads this they will know who I am. So I will leave this unsigned. I am an a@#hole. I have let everyone down and I feel as though I will never change or never improve. I am in love with a girl and I know that I am not good enough for her. I have come to believe that my life has all been meaningless. I keep trying and I keep failing. I have thought about and attempted suicide many times in the past. I used to think of my failure as some mystical way of telling me that I was really meant for something meaningful. The only thing I dread, besides the pain, is the way my family will suffer. I do not want my mother or father to think that it was anything they did that lead me to kill myself. I never really had any plans of leaving a note. I thought that I would not be able to describe why I want to do this and I am right. There is no way to tell you or anyone else why I dread every new day. My father had such high expectations for me and tried to give me every opportunity to improve upon myself. I let him down. I think that I am a major disappointment to him. I have a job but I?m always broke and I am in college but barely, I show up to class but that?s about it. I want my life to end. I am tired of f@#$ing up everything. I am tired of people always telling me that they do not like me. I am tired of trying to be decent. I hope that someone finds this post and I hope that my parents know that I f@#$ed up not them. It is my fault I screwed up my own life. The hate that rages within me, rages not for those I love so dearly or those who have crossed my path. This hate rages full force towards me and only me. I have long forgiven those who’ve hurt me, but I have not and cannot come to terms to forgive myself for the things I have done to myself, and the things I’ve done to hurt those in my life. You have all touched my life in one way or another, especially those whom I call family. I cannot tell you how sorry I am for ending my life the way I did. I hope that you can all find it in your heart to see it as way for me not suffering anymore and that I am finally at rest with myself, for being at rest with the guilt that constantly ate at me for so long. Please forgive me all for taking my own life so early. I tried so hard to fight against this strong battle. I have reached out for help so many times, and yet I believe, I was turned away because of the things I did, that it is a punishment I am willing to take, for I know that being who I am has only brought myself and others pain. I love you all and will forever live within the memories we created. Forgive me. Love always and forever, As for my signature I will leave you with a quote so that if anyone reads this they will know it’s me, “Can?t feel pain if your dead? Just Saying”

Jason

“In a striking display of the power of live video,”

What a dumb way to lead into this tragic story.

karmastic

He was just a kid, and to think of his poor family.

May he rest in peace.

davidthefat

Oh yea, if you do look at his post history, he was considered a troll , its like the boy who cried wolf, he posted so much bull shit that when he was actually serious, no one believed him… well its his fault, do not put any blame on bodybuilding.com…

davidthefat

People, damn… Why do you think it was our fault? You guys werent even there… The comments about “Go do it” or what ever were from trolls, troll are people that have nothing else to do but make people’s lives miserable, there were tons and tons of troll on bodybuilding.com, some posting sick pics and some bull shitting about their identity or stats (body weight and lifting stats)

Honestly, why did it take like 24 hours to get on the news sties like this? its should be faster

Justin Davey

Gee Liz, I’m as big of a proponent of online video as you. As a former writer of Rocketboom, I’m as bullish as the next person. But do you think “the power of live video” is the best angle here? If you can’t highlight the real issues here, maybe leave such a story to more relevant blogs!

Floris

Submitted to digg, wow .. what a thing, that bullying can go so far. But of course, he could just quit his cast and ignore these lame misc users. On the other hand, live suicide is something we don’t need where people in the room shout “do it, i dare you” and such comments. I am glad I missed it, and I am sad that JTV got stained by this. It reminds me of the broadcast of some UK bloke who hang himself after the channel called him every name in the book. Was that on ustream or jtv?

davidthefat

Just to tell you, bodybuilding.com is down right now, IDK if its because of this or the guys buying stock share from it or something…

gagahput3ra

This should be a good idea for a holywood movie………because it’s only good if IT’S IN ONLY IN MOVIE.

Man….this shit is really2 creepy.

mike

justin.tv is pretty much finished as a startup now. Way too much bad press :( It will be marred by this forever.

allie

SOMEONE FUCKING DIED and you’re worried about the fucking website?! what the hell is wrong with you?

serg

they killed themselves, and brought someone else’s business down with them. Thats a bit twisted to defend dont you think? now I could be wrong, maybe it is ok for everyone who commits suicide to make someone else’s life suck for a bit.

davidthefat

Damn… Shit got real… I saw the video of it my self but I was not part of this suicide… Im just 14 people… I was on the Teen Misc not the Misc most of the time…

RIP

I was reading the posts on the forum yesterday and they did NOT encourage him to take the pills. He took the pills BEFORE he started broadcasting live. I don’t support what the people on those forums said but I just wanted to tell the facts.

RIP

Cait

It doesnt matter if he had already taken the pills and then started broadcasting..The point is that a boy commited suicide online…and people found this funny? How can you say go for it and do it and nobody cares when a person is trying to take their own life? Its really really sad..and quite pathetic if you ask me. Maybe if people tried telling him to go tell people or maybe if someone had called the cops when the broadcast FIRST STARTED, this would not have happened. I think its pretty disturbing that out of everyone watching, very few took sympathy for the poor kid. But if its not someone you know or someone you love who cares right? Wrong. He was someones child. Someones brother,someones nephew or uncle…someones everything. And everyone turned their backs. They tried to shrug it off. It makes me sick to see the way our generation has handled things. We are the future of this world. We will raise our kids in this world. And would you like your child or your sibling or anyone you know to do this? And how would you feel after reading comments of “noone cares” and “go for it yeah this is interesting”?? This is a life we are talking about here. How do you get that lonely…?

Anonymous

No one cared for him because he was usaully the “Attention seeker” in the forums
Like the boy who cried wolf as a joke so much the villagers did not believe him
Unfortunately he did what he told himself to do(most likely several times before to)

He was just having depression alone though
He didnt seek for help because he feared that no one would help him(What i got from his deathnote)
Im not going to be judgemental yet
But you cant go ahead and blame every single person who commented on his blog/topic
They were not all fortune tellers, they had no idea and no intention to physically hurt him
True though, they were probably hurting him with words

Comments are closed.