4chan user 'Stephen' set himself ablaze on Saturday night, but reports concerning the fire’s location and the young man’s condition conflict.
A troubled young student tried to commit suicide for Internet glory by setting his room on fire as 200 people watched online, startling video shows.
The 20-year-old, known on the anonymous 4chan forums as “Stephen” and believed to live in Canada, announced on the message board that he would live stream his own death.
But conflicting reports surround whether the unidentified man survived, the location of the blaze and whether this may have been an elaborate hoax.
The student’s suspected suicide bid unfolded on Saturday, with “Stephen” claiming to have been a 4chan regular since 2004. The arson was his attempt to “to give back to the community in the best possible way,” he said.
A staggering 200 people — the maximum possible — then logged on at 7 p.m. Saturday to watch the horrific “event.”
Hundreds more posted messages online venting their frustration at not being able to see the live stream.
“Stephen,” who said he wanted to be “an hero” — online slang for trying to end your life — was reportedly seen ingesting a cocktail of pills and vodka before lighting a fire in his room.
The footage, which has been since uploaded to LiveLeak.com, then shows him hiding under his bed as the smoke gets denser.
The @YourAnonNews Twitter account — associated with hacktivist group Anonymous — claims he was in fact living in Pittsburgh and his death was reported by the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.
A house on Spring Garden Ave. became engulfed in a three-alarm fire where the occupant died, according to the Gazette.
However, other users claim he was from the University of Guleph in Ontario, Canada, and had only been injured in a dorm fire. The school, on a bulletin posted to its site, makes reference to the fact that social media may have been a motive and that the fire was “deliberately set.”
“The university is aware that there is disturbing social media activity circulating about this incident,” the school said on Sunday.
Shocking viral videos have occasionally been debunked as hoaxes. The Internet craze of the girl doing a handstand and twerking — only to be lit on fire — was revealed to be an elaborate prank by TV personality Jimmy Kimmel.