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Controversy Surrounding the Release of the Video and Images Showing Luger Crashing to His Death in the Olympics

Should the Images and Video of the Tragic Luge Accident be Shown?

Upon hearing that luger Nodar Kumaritashvili, 21, of the Republic of Georgia was killed during his Olympic practice run on Friday, the mood at Sugar HQ took an incredibly somber turn. Many of us were shocked at the release of the graphic images and video depicting the horrific crash  — from Kumaritashvili losing control of his sled to the emergency crew's attempt at reviving him, it was all there in visual detail.

There has been a tremendous amount of controversy surrounding the release of these images. Many people feel that it's completely irresponsible for media outlets to show the crash. Besides being disturbing, they feel that it is disrespectful to Kumaritashvili's family and crosses the line of good taste. Yet, a number of people think the crash should be shown — it illustrates a significant event and documents the possible unsafe conditions of the luge course. Some argue that the recent photos showing the earthquake in Haiti received no such criticism when many were equally, if not more, graphic.

NBC News stood by the release of the video but has since removed it from all of its media outlets, saying that "it was no longer necessary to show the video when reporting on this tragic story." While many news organizations have followed suit, other major outlets like CBS and CNN continue to show the video.

What do you think of this controversy?

Image Source: Getty
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Gingeroot Gingeroot 6 years
I don't want everyone to see me last dying. Reminds me of this Asian horror film. Where the ghost comes back and haunts people who watched his death on TV.
RoaringSilence RoaringSilence 6 years
Absolutely not. In my country, only unreliable and not very well respected news show graphic pictures like that.
susanec susanec 6 years
The video footage was horrible and graphic, but the still photos were almost worse IMO. They were just frozen at that point of no return and those seemed truly tasteless to print.
trainerjon trainerjon 6 years
I too feel that showing the footage was totally unnecessary and tasteless. Shame on NBC!
doogirl doogirl 6 years
All I know is that if I were his Mother, I would be outraged at the press showing the death of my child over and over. Some things do NOT need to be seen, and watching someone die is one of them. My heart goes out to his family.
tlsgirl tlsgirl 6 years
Good for you runningesq! I actually got my kitty right after Katrina too, although I found him while evacuating, so I guess he's not so much a rescue.
arcticpuppet arcticpuppet 6 years
i saw it, about an hour or two before the opening ceremonies, and it was traumatic! i can't believe it aired and i don't think it should have.
Spectra Spectra 6 years
I didn't see the footage, but I agree that there is no real reason to show it to the public.
TheLittleMonster TheLittleMonster 6 years
nonono. definitely not. How disrespectful to his memory and his family.
socalbeachgal socalbeachgal 6 years
I couldn't believe when they asked his family about the video. I think it should be shown as a learning tool only, it was too graphic.
Pistil Pistil 6 years
I didn't realize they had shown any footage, so I guess I've managed to avoid it too. It's not something I'm seeking out. I really don't see the necessity of it.
starangel82 starangel82 6 years
"What I find even more foul is the media asking his FAMILY have you seen the video?"Oh yes, I was outraged when I saw that on the news.
starangel82 starangel82 6 years
"What I find even more foul is the media asking his FAMILY have you seen the video?" Oh yes, I was outraged when I saw that on the news.
starangel82 starangel82 6 years
I'm mixed on this one. They should NOT have show in right before the opening ceremonies... I did think that was tasteless.By releasing the video, another luger might be able to learn what caused the accident and use it to keep himself (herself) from meeting the same fate.Overall though, there is absolutely no reason for the images to be shown on national TV.
starangel82 starangel82 6 years
I'm mixed on this one. They should NOT have show in right before the opening ceremonies... I did think that was tasteless. By releasing the video, another luger might be able to learn what caused the accident and use it to keep himself (herself) from meeting the same fate. Overall though, there is absolutely no reason for the images to be shown on national TV.
runningesq runningesq 6 years
tlsgirl: kind of OT, but one of out kitties is a Katrina rescue. ((()))There is no need for anyone to view this.What I find even more foul is the media asking his FAMILY <i>have you seen the video?</i> :(
runningesq runningesq 6 years
tlsgirl: kind of OT, but one of out kitties is a Katrina rescue. ((())) There is no need for anyone to view this. What I find even more foul is the media asking his FAMILY have you seen the video? :(
tlsgirl tlsgirl 6 years
I'm with Chloe Bella on this one. I lived through Katrina, but I don't find the footage of that tasteless. It was a national, not a private tragedy. This is too, to a certain extent, but the only people who truly need to study the video for unsafe conditions are those responsible for the course itself. The public doesn't have any reason to see it, other than rubber necking-type curiosity.
fleurfairy fleurfairy 6 years
As usual, the media turns a tragic event into a feeding frenzy. Gone are the days when the media was somewhat classy ie avoiding showing FDR looking anything other than presidential even though he had polio. It's sad that our world has come to this. When will it end?
chloe-bella chloe-bella 6 years
I've somehow managed to avoid seeing a video of it, but I was also really shocked to hear that the whole thing was being aired on TV. And let me say, I'm no prude, and I am pretty open-minded when it comes to deciding what things are "appropriate." I think it's different than the Katrina and Haiti footage - those were national disasters, the devastation of which was still in the process of occurring at the time when footage was aired. Plus, in those situations, it wasn't the demise of any one individual that was being aired over and over.
a1stbornunicorn a1stbornunicorn 6 years
I was shocked they showed the footage before the opening ceremony. It seemed tactless, considering how upset the Georgian athletes were. It makes a spectacle out of death and I can't help but wonder if they would have aired an American's untimely end. No doubt the footage would have leaked eventually through some outlet, our media are pariahs.
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