"Absolutely Disgusting" (lost UPN 9 News broadcast; 2005)

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The only known image of the broadcast.

Status: Lost

"Absolutely Disgusting" refers to a news story broadcast by UPN 9 News in 2005, showing a news reporter in front of a set of suburban homes, with the caption "Absolutely Disgusting." An image of the broadcast was uploaded onto a webpage in May 2008 and has since been used as a meme to express anger, disapproval, or indeed, disgust as a form of reaction. Despite the meme's popularity, the original broadcast has never resurfaced.


In May 2008, an image of the broadcast would be provided by American writer Mike Sacks as part of "Photos of TV".[1][2] Later that month, American blog Gawker would declare the screenshot as one of the best Sacks captured.[3][2] With the likes of 4chan then utilising the image as a form of negative reaction, the meme would gain significant popularity in the early-2010s, with the original and altered image macros being commonly spread across the internet.[2] But although the meme was now mainstream, its source was completely inaccessible online.[4][5]

Initial Investigations

Prior to 2022, the missing news broadcast attracted little discussion within lost media communities, including the Lost Media Wiki Forum and r/lostmedia.[4][5] In September 2016, a Lost Media Wiki Forum post was made by user stormworm noting the meme's lost video source.[4] One user, gabrielwoj conducted brief research on the matter, and found a webpage providing a description for an "Absolutely Disgusting Video" involving two women spitting and later attacking an elderly man.[4] It also complemented the news reporter, calling him a "badass mofo."[4] Ultimately, another user, "ffeathers," investigated further and found the embedded YouTube video was regarding a completely different news report.[4]

In April 2021, Reddit user 817mkd made a post on r/lostmedia, noting that not only was the video lost, its source was completely unknown.[5] Here, multiple Redditors began the initial research into the mystery, identifying basic information regarding the news station UPN 9 News.[5] UPN 9 News operated within New York and New Jersey from around 1995 to 2006, originating after WWOR-TV owners Chris-Craft forged a new partnership with Viacom subsidiary Paramount Television Group to establish the United Paramount Network (UPN).[6][7] In August 2000, Chris-Craft sold its television stations, with Fox subsidiary News Corporation successfully out-bidding Viacom with a $5.4 billion deal.[8] In January 2006, News Corporation would drop the UPN logo after the announcement UPN and the WB would merge to form the CW network, terminating the affiliation with Channel 9.[9] Thus, the Absolutely Disgusting broadcast would have commenced between 1995 to January 2006.[5]

In the same r/lostmedia post, user "marcol-copperpot" investigated the news reporter's identity.[5] Their research led them to conclude with great certainty that the reporter was Brian O'Brien, a news anchor who primarily worked for agencies within New York City.[10][11][12][13][5] He spent 36 years working for Channel 5, with him switching to a full reporting role by 1970.[10][12][13] He was often called upon to cover major news events within the streets of the City, including being present at the scene of Eastern Airlines Flight 66's crash, as well as the 9/11 terrorist attacks.[10][12] However, he also had a light-hearted approach to reporting, like when he donned a bumblebee costume when covering a flower shower at the New York Coliseum.[10] In 2002, O'Brien transferred over to WWOR/UPN, which was based in Secaucus, New Jersey.[11][10][13] O'Brien would pass away in 2018 aged 75, having also later served on the City Council in Waldport, Oregon.[12][13] Aside from a reel showing he did work for UPN 9 News, O'Brien clearly resembles the man in the Absolutely Disgusting image, sharing a similar grey hairstyle and moustache.[5]

SewerReviewer's Investigation

On 29th July 2022, prominent lost media YouTuber SewerReviewer uploaded a video documenting their research into the Absolutely Disgusting news broadcast. After coming up short researching the About Us section of UPN 9, they narrowed down the broadcast date to 2005 after finding the logo was utilised exclusively in that year. However, they were unsuccessful in finding any online broadcasts or new stories linking to the Absolutely Disgusting story. Nevertheless, they also noted from other UPN 9 broadcasts that Absolutely Disgusting was actually used during a "Coming Up Next" transition, meaning that the actual story was not just referred to as "Absolutely Disgusting" but would contain further detail once UPN 9 returned to it.

SewerReviewer would also establish an "On the Hunt"-esque search flyer for the missing broadcast, stating it was broadcast around the early-2000s by UPN 9 within the New York/New Jersey area, with the original screenshot being first uploaded in 2008. In the flyer, they also included another screenshot of a UPN 9 broadcast from Sacks.[1] This screenshot is of a James Deen, with a caption of "Offended".[1] While not fully confirmed, SewerReviewer notes similarities like the lighting of the story, its heading being appropriate for an "Absolutely Disgusting" report, and the fact Deen was interviewed outside in a similar location. While SewerReviewer's investigation has not yielded the missing broadcast, it has helped with narrowing the broadcast's airing date and provided a possible connection to what "Absolutely Disgusting" was referring to. This, combined with the research of r/lostmedia Reddit users, may provide the groundwork for a future in-depth investigation and potentially the broadcast's recovery.

On 22nd October 2022, Lost Media Wiki user "SpaceManiac888" emailed Sacks to determine if he recorded the broadcast and if he could share more information about it.[14] Ultimately, he responded that he simply took a 35mm photo of it when it was broadcast live possibly 20 years ago.[14] However, while he did not remember what the Absolutely Disgusting news story was about, he debunked the James Deen connection, stating that the screenshots were of two separate reports.[14]



SewerReviewer's investigation into the missing broadcast.

Reel consisting of O'Brien's news reporting.



  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 Mike Sacks providing the original Absolutely Disgusting and the James Deen "Offended" screenshots, also including two other UPN 9 News images believed to be irrelevant to the search. Retrieved 21st Oct '22
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 Know Your Meme detailing how the "Absolutely Disgusting" meme arose and became popular. Retrieved 21st Oct '22
  3. Gawker declaring the Absolutely Disgusting screenshot as one of the best Sacks took. Retrieved 21st Oct '22
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 4.3 4.4 4.5 Lost Media Wiki Forum post discussing the missing broadcast in September 2016. Retrieved 21st Oct '22
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 5.3 5.4 5.5 5.6 5.7 r/lostmedia discussing the missing broadcast in April 2021. Retrieved 21st Oct '22
  6. Fybush noting Chris-Craft owned WWOR before it was sold to News Corporation in 2000. Retrieved 21st Oct '22
  7. The Los Angeles Times noting UPN was established in 1995 following a joint-venture. Retrieved 21st Oct '22
  8. CNN Money reporting News Corporation buying Chris-Craft television stations like UPN 9. Retrieved 21st Oct '22
  9. The New York Post reporting on News Corporation dropping the UPN logo from Channel 9. Retrieved 21st Oct '22
  10. 10.0 10.1 10.2 10.3 10.4 The Irish Echo reporting on O'Brien transferring over to UPN 9 and documenting some of his Channel 5 reports. Retrieved 21st Oct '22
  11. 11.0 11.1 Observer reporting on O'Brien moving to UPN 9. Retrieved 21st Oct '22
  12. 12.0 12.1 12.2 12.3 Good Story News paying tribute to O'Brien and noting his news reporting in New York City and becoming a member of the Waldport, Oregon council Retrieved 21st Oct '22
  13. 13.0 13.1 13.2 13.3 Archived News Lincoln County reporting on O'Brien working as a city councillor for Waldport, Oregon. Retrieved 21st Oct '22
  14. 14.0 14.1 14.2 Private email correspondence between Lost Media Wiki user SpaceManiac888 and Mike Sacks. Retrieved 22nd Oct '22