EASTERN EUROPE—Alki David, the British billionaire actor, director, producer and operator of FilmOn.com, has entered uncharted territory with his decision to live broadcast the assisted suicide of a terminally ill Russian man July 29 on BattleCam.com, David’s reality TV website. The location of the streamed event will also be at an undisclosed location in Eastern Europe.
The Russian, Nikolai Ivanisovich, who has been diagnosed with terminal brain cancer, “will receive a lethal injection, administered by a physician who has decided to remain anonymous,” reported ShockYa.com. “The doctor doesn’t want their identity revealed because of the ‘mitigating circumstance and likely media attention this event may generate.’”
According to David, who lives on the Greek island of Spetses, BattleCam members will decide whether they want to see the suicide or not through the use of a “unique voting system” incorporated into the site that David says is creating “a new form of interactive special interest.”
Though at first the idea of streaming a suicide live on such a platform might seem to be an exploitive and cynical use of new technology, as David tells it, the idea did not originate with him but with the Ivanisovich family.
“Originally, I was approached by one of my staff to help Nikolai out with medical expenses,” he told AVN. “I did so. We exchanged some emails and that was it. Once his health started to deteriorate his wife Uryna asked me to pay for his assisted end of life. It was her suggestion in fact that we stream it. So I agreed. Most of the great ideas on BattleCam come from the community on it.”
In an interview conducted in Russia, where he lives, Ivanisovish said he was “grateful to Mr. David and his team for making this possible. My family will be able to live in prosperity after I pass. May God bless Mr. David for his kindness and generosity.”
Despite telling ShockYa.com, “I find nothing wrong with this at all. Death is a fact of life and physician assisted suicide in the United States is legal in the States of Oregon, Montana and Washington,” David told AVN that he has “no political or social ideology on the issue of legal suicide. I am not that smart or opinionated.”
In a sense, it seems the decision to stream the suicide engages three of David's main interests. The initial impetus was to help a family in need, but it was also an opportunity to provide an “interesting spectacle” to viewers of BattleCam while fulfilling David’s conception of BattleCam as a “social experiment.”
The site, he said, “generates zero revenue, and even though I have developed some interesting ideas to commercialize it, it is really just my favorite toy. It is here forever. All the members of BattleCam make the site interesting and compelling and it really has grown into a fascinating community. Cynics would say [it is populated by] degenerates and low lifes, but I totally disagree. Not only do I know some very influential and even famous people who frequent BC incognito, but comments like that put me in the same group!”
Still, the all-too-human issues that surround the live streaming of an assisted suicide are not lost on David, who responded affirmatively when asked whether he would consider similar pleas that might come his way.
“I am open to similar requests, sure!” he told AVN.
Photo: Alki David