While most of us are recovering from the devastating news that actor Robin Williams has died, some have taken it upon themselves to make insensitive, accusatory comments or use the actor’s death for their own benefit.
Who are they? Fox News host Shepard Smith and Minnesota GOP official Chris Fields.
At the end of a Fox News special about Williams, host Shepard Smith labeled the actor “such a coward” for leaving his children and loved ones behind. This was just hours after the actor died. Watch below:
When Smith spoke about Williams’ daughter, Zelda, the host said:
“One of the children he so loved, one of the children grieving tonight. Because their father killed himself in a fit of depression.” [source]
Smith goes on, and his angry tone doesn’t falter.
“It’s hard to imagine, isn’t it? You could love three little things so much, watch them grow, they’re in their mid-20s, and they’re inspiring you, and exciting you, and they fill you up with the kind of joy you could never have known.”
“And yet, something inside you is so horrible or you’re such a coward or whatever the reason that you decide that you have to end it. Robin Williams, at 63, did that today.” [source]
Suicide has been a controversial and debated topic for quite some time. Psychologist Thomas Joiner, author of “Myths about Suicide“, is one expert that insists that suicide is not an act of selfishness – debunking Smith’s remarks. In a 2010 interview with NPR, Joiner said:
“What the suicidal person is thinking at the time is actually quite different from selfishness. Their idea is along the lines of, my death will be worth more than my life to others,” he explained. “Now, if you ponder that sentiment, that’s not selfish at all. In fact, if anything it’s the opposite. It’s very selfless.” [source]
GOP official Chris Field – deputy chair of the state’s Republican Party – also infuriated several people on Twitter when he responded to the death of the famous comedian by promoting his political views.
The social media director of the state’s Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party had posted a touching tweet about Williams. Fields replied to the tweet, and it was nothing short of insensitive and distasteful:
Fields’ response blatantly requested support for Jeff Johnson, running for governor of Minnesota. Twitter users were quick to criticize Fields for using Williams’ death for his own political gains.
Fields’ twitter catastrophe skyrocketed when fellow Republican (and former Republican house communications staffer) Kevin Watterson joined the conversation.
“You are an officer of the state party and making an ass of all of us. Don’t tell me to watch my mouth.” [source]