Who was Ronnie McNutt? How his suicide livestream turned social media against Facebook and TikTok
The Internet got a shock when TikTok star Ronnie McNutt killed himself and live-streamed the incident on Facebook while he sat in front of a desk at his house in Mississippi on August 31, 2020. The video of his suicide went viral and left his family and friends and fans devastated.
The distressing footage went viral on the social media platform and appeared on TikTok's 'For You' trending homepage, which made it harder to avoid the footage. Many social media users said they unintentionally saw the clip, and have warned others not to click on the thumbnail (which shows a bearded man with glasses speaking to someone on the phone), Daily Star reports.
Who was Ronnie McNutt?
Mr McNutt, a former Army veteran who served in Iraq, worked at a Toyota plant in Blue Springs, New Albany. According to the Mirror, there are unconfirmed reports that he had lost his job and broken up with his girlfriend before his suicide. McNutt shot himself in the head with a shotgun while he sat on a chair in front of his desk.
McNutt was a member of Celebration Church Tupelo, which confirmed his death in a post on its Facebook page on September 1. "In the midst of a sudden tragedy that occurred last night, we grieve with the McNutt Family during this time because the passing of our brother in Christ, Ronnie McNutt," it said. "Ronnie will be missed by all who loved and knew him. He was very caring, committed, loyal, dependable, and eccentric. He served his church faithfully and was loved by many. Although events surrounding his death were tragic, we take comfort in our Creator, believing that because of Ronnie's confession and conversion as a believer in Christ Jesus, he is currently before our loving Father," the post read.
McNutt's friend, Josh Steen spoke about the video and the failure of social media platforms in removing it. In an interview with Heavy, Sheen shared details about the circumstances surrounding his friend’s public suicide and claimed that Facebook didn’t do enough to prevent McNutt’s death from being streamed online or to remove offensive graphic content about McNutt’s death in the days since. “Facebook could’ve stopped this and didn’t,” he said. Steen also said according to him Facebook is “directly responsible” for the video being shared online and going viral. Steen said, “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. It does not make sense.”
Steen revealed that McNutt suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) after serving tours in the Iraq War. Steen and McNutt became friends while they worked in a local theater and later, the two worked together on a podcast, 'Just Us Geeks.' “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. “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," he added.
The 'Just Us Geeks' official page shared a message on September 1, 2020, pointing out the people sharing the 'suicide video', "Well, @Hinderless, this is how we’ll remember you: your intensity, dedication, and love for geeks of all shapes and sizes. An incredible writer, who could always take a joke, and had something to say. Rest easy, friend. Don’t worry; we won’t be idiots. Promise. #JUG #restinpeace"
Well, @Hinderless , this is how we’ll remember you: your intensity, dedication, and love for geeks of all shapes and sizes. An incredible writer, who could always take a joke, and had something to say. Rest easy, friend. Don’t worry; we won’t be idiots. Promise. #JUG #restinpeace pic.twitter.com/JV2nRhDa89— JustUs Geeks Podcast (@JustUsGeeks) September 1, 2020
Many of McNutt’s friends expressed their shock following the video that show McNutt shoot himself in the head. One friend wrote, “Please say a prayer right now for the family of Ronnie McNutt. He just killed himself live on FB and I cannot unsee this. What do you do? I happened to the last min get on FB before I went to sleep and I saw it. I tried but apparently it wasn’t quick enough to reach him. I wasn’t quick enough. Dear God I wish I could have gotten to him.” Another said, “I got too late. I was watching it trying to figure out what was going on then I called our friend to get his address and he freaking shot himself in the head. In front of his mom. He was apparently reaching out for an hour. An hour. How could no one get to him?”
A Twitter user tried to warn other Internet users and said, "Tw Suicide There’s a video going around on tiktok (and here) of a man, Ronnie Mcnutt, committing suicide on a live stream. It’s very graphic and really traumatizing. This is what it starts off as, please scroll past it. Please don’t look for it. I hope his family is doing well:(."
Another user tweeted, "PLS IM HAVING A PANIC ATTACK I CANT BREATHE IM BALLING MY EYES OUT THIS IS SO SCARY I CANT I JUST WSTCHED THE RONNIE MCNUTT VIDEO OMFG IM SHAKING SO HARD PLS HELP."
PLS IM HAVING A PANIC ATTACK I CANT BREATHE IM BALLING MY EYES OUT THIS IS SO SCARY I CANT I JUST WSTCHED THE RONNIE MCNUTT VIDEO OMFG IM SHAKING SO HARD PLS HELP— 𝕔𝕙𝕖𝕪 ☀︎︎☺︎︎✰¹ᴰ⊬⚣ (@BITCHESLIETOME) September 7, 2020
"TW// s word ///// while scrolling through my feed i witnessed Ronnie McNutt’s death video. I just want to say my condolences go out to his mother, his friends, & everyone who knew the man before. please don’t ask for the video or spread it in anyway," said another user.
TW// s word /////— milkieangel (@milkieangel) September 7, 2020
while scrolling through my feed i witnessed Ronnie McNutt’s death video. I just want to say my condolences go out to his mother, his friends, & everyone who knew the man before. please don’t ask for the video or spread it in anyway.
If you or someone you know is having suicidal thoughts, the toll-free National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255) is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. You can also speak with a trained crisis counselor 24/7 by texting HOME to 741741 to reach the Crisis Text Line.