Fact Check

'Britain's Got Talent' Suicide

Rumor: Video clip shows a 'Britain's Got Talent' contestant shooting himself after a harsh judging.

Published May 7, 2012

Claim:   Video clip shows a Britain's Got Talent contestant shooting himself after a harsh judging.


Example:   [Collected via e-mail, May 2012]

Is this true?

After being torn apart by the judges, a contestant on Britain's Got Talent went back stage and shot himself.


Origins:   In April 2010, a spoof article published by the satirical Daily Squib web site mooted the notion of a contestant on the Britain's Got Talent television program committing suicide in front of the judges as "a spectacular piece of performance art." Around the same time, UK newspaper articles were reporting warnings from mental health officials that "a tragedy [on Britain's Got Talent] is inevitable unless show producers stop vulnerable people from performing." A short time later, the video clip displayed above began to circulate on the Internet, purportedly showing a contestant from that television show running backstage and shooting himself after being caustically criticized by judge Simon Cowell as "completely and utterly useless."

No contestant on Britain's Got Talent has killed himself after a harsh judging, however. The video clip is an obvious fake, stitched together from Cowell's criticism of one contestant and a shot of the judges' shocked reaction to a completely different contestant, with an overdubbed gunshot sound added for effect. (Notice how the judges and their clothing change between the initial introduction and the reaction shot.)

Last updated:   5 February 2015

David Mikkelson founded the site now known as snopes.com back in 1994.

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