Venue Owner Pulls the Plug on Band’s "Suicide" Concert

Bioethics   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Sep 24, 2003   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Venue Owner Pulls the Plug on Band’s "Suicide" Concert

by Steven Ertelt Editor
September 24, 2003

St. Petersburg, FL ( — Whether the idea was a publicity stunt or an attempt to further the euthanasia cause, a venue owner has pulled the plug on a Florida-based rock band’s attempt to allow a fan to commit suicide on stage.

Earlier, the Florida metal bend Hell on Earth, known for its strange antics such as grinding up rats, said it would allow a fan to kill himself during a planned concert in St. Petersburg.

The fan is a terminally ill member of a pro-euthanasia group.

David Hundley, owner of the State Theater in St. Petersburg, said he is not going to allow the concert to take place. He was certain the request was a publicity stunt or an illusion, but he was worried what some "nut case" might do anyway.

"We couldn’t allow anything to happen," Hundley said at a press conference. "We deal with a lot of kids here and we don’t want their parents to think anything bad or that their kids are ever at risk."

In response, the band’s web site claims "Florida politicians strong-armed the State Theatre out of hosting the event."

"They have demanded that the State Theatre owners write a press release stating the decision to cancel the show is the State Theatre’s alone," the band claims. "In addition, St. Petersburg City Council has mandated they must first review and approve of the State Theatre’s press release before State Theatre co-owner, Dave Hundley, signs it and only then can he release it to the press."

The band’s lead singer maintains the death would have been to further the assisted suicide cause.

"I support the right to die with dignity," Hell on Earth singer Billy Tourtelot says. "I got an email a few weeks ago from this person, who is a fan of the band and who stated an interest in doing this."

In a press release, the fan wrote: "I thank the Lord that Hell on Earth is giving me this opportunity to end my suffering."

The owner of another club won’t allow the band to move its show there.

Matt Mullins, who owns Club Venom in Pinellas Park, Florida, won’t let the band play there either if the suicide is part of the act.

If the band goes through with the plan, it could be hit with secondary felony charges for assisting in the commission of self-murder.

Tourtelot denies that is a publicity stunt or a crime: "We have legal representation, and this is not illegal. I’m definitely not assisting in any suicide . . . What I’m doing may be immoral, but it’s not illegal."