Ashley Judd is firing back at current media coverage of her mother Naomi’s death after outlets such as New York Post and Radar Online publicly leaked Naomi’s suicide note and circulated images of the crime scene. The incident has reignited a conversation about the proper way to report on suicide.

Grammy winner and singer-songwriter Naomi Judd died by suicide after years of grappling with mental illness. She was 76.

In a statement posted to her social media accounts, Ashley and sister Wynonna, among other family members said: “Our family is deeply distressed by the galling, irresponsible publication of … our beloved mother and wife’s death by suicide because of the trauma and damage it does to those who view such materials and the contagion risk they pose to those who are vulnerable to self-harm.”


The post has garnered overwhelming support and love, with some commenters describing the recent articles as “appalling” and “sick.”

The statement condemned ongoing requests for private details and images as a crude “monetization” of a family’s despair and suffering, stating that the sensationalization and unfair simplification of one’s suicide can negatively impact the “health outcomes” of those who face similar risks.

Ashley reminded the public of the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention’s guidelines for covering suicide, before advocating and drawing support for a bill that Tennessee Senate Majority Leader Jack Johnson is sponsoring.

The legislation, also called the Tennessee Senate Bill 9, will significantly limit public access to death records, investigations and 911 call recordings if no crime was involved in the cause of an individual’s passing.

The final paragraph of the statement drew a distinction between freedom of information and making a family’s loss a “public spectacle.”

Ashley and her family ended with an acknowledgment that there are other families whose privacy has been brutally violated in the media – and with the promise to continue fighting on behalf of them all.

This article contains mentions of suicide. If you, or anyone else you know, is at risk of self-harm, please call the Suicide and Crisis Lifeline at 988.

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