Fox News’ Shepard Smith suggested Robin Williams was a “coward” in reporting on his death from an apparent suicide yesterday.
After Williams was found dead, his spokesperson Mara Buxbaum said Williams had “been battling severe depression of late.”
See the video of Smith’s comments below.
Smith said, referring to Williams’ three children:
“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.”
iMediaEthics reached out to Fox News for comment, which referred us to Smith’s comments and apology posted on TV Newser and Mediaite.
Smith clarified, some would say excused, his hurtful comments in an interview with Mediaite. He said his comments came when he “was just wondering aloud what could have made this man want to end it all.”
“And it reminds us that we all have responsibility as friends and neighbors to help take responsibility to prevent this from happening. There are people who process suicide as a black-and white-issue. I don’t process anything as black-and-white,” Smith said.
Smith added, “If any of his family members and friends were to have seen me use the word “coward,” I would be horrified. I would just like to apologize to the end of the earth to anyone who might think that I meant to openly call him a coward.”
He went on, “To the core of my being, I regret it. It just came out of my mouth. And I’m so sorry. And to anyone and their families who see that, I am sorry.”
He also said he “could not be more sorry” in a statement to TV Newser.
“The last thing I would ever suggest about a man I know nothing about personally, is that he’s a coward. That goes against everything I am. If those words, I used so innocently, offended his family, from the bottom of my heart, I could not be more sorry.”
The Marin County Coroner said it “suspects the death to be a suicide,” however it added “a comprehensive investigation must be completed before a final determination is made,” according to ABC News.