Robin Williams a Coward? Apology NOT accepted!

cowardShepard Smith from Fox News: “It’s hard to imagine, isn’t it?” he added. “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.”

Fox News is pretty much the only news channel I watch. I  have grown to like Shepard Smith among several other people on that channel.  However, this morning, I have been made to reconsider.

What Shepard Smith says shows the ignorance about mental illness that grows rampant in our society.  It is bad enough that there is a stigma and so many people are uneducated about mental illness. It is bad enough that when there are tragedies that the media doesn’t use the opportunity to educate the public about mental illnesses and only likes to demonize the suspect and make people think that all people who have mental illnesses are violent.

Smith went over the top.  I don’t think it is good enough that he apologized.  It makes me sick to think that he is going to get away with it just by saying he is sorry and that “it just came out of his mouth”.  Would it be ok if he said that to someone who died of a heart attack was awful to do that to his/her family because they didn’t diet?  Would it be ok that it was awful that someone left their kids behind because they didn’t do the right treatment and died of cancer?  Would it be ok if he was insensitive and said that someone died of lung disease because they chose to smoke and that he could not believe they would do that to their family?  I don’t think so!

People with mental illnesses don’t choose to have the mental illness just like someone does not choose to have cancer or heart disease.  Maybe it is time that Shephard Smith along with the majority of other media takes a course in compassion and educates themselves on how mental illness affects 1 in 4 people. Depression is not a choice or a sign of weakness and suicide is the tenth leading cause of death and the third leading cause of death for ages 15 to 24. 3

Maybe if they started using opportunities like this to educate the public about how cowardice it is to commit suicide, it would be better to broadcast the suicide hotline, quote stats about mental illness, and educate everyone about the various mental illnesses. They should also read the Recommendations for Reporting on Suicide

I don’t think that Smith should get away with this. He obviously felt that Robin Williams was a coward or he would not have said it.

Things Shephard could have used the air time for instead of what he said:

There are so many things he could have used the air time for and yet he chose to let everyone know that he thought suicide was cowardly and that people with mental illnesses should be ashamed of themselves. It makes me sick! I am usually a forgiving person, but it will be a very long time before I can listen to Smith again if ever.

If you or someone you know is thinking about suicide, please seek help.



International Suicide Hotline 




About Michelle Clark Bipolar Bandit

I am a strong advocate for the mentally ill and have been since I was first approached by a lawyer in a psychiatric facility as a teenager. He wanted me to help him fight how the mentally ill are mistreated. I was diagnosed with bipolar disorder at the age of 17 after a full blown manic episode. Before that, I suffered from debilitating depression for 4 years. My goals are to help others by sharing my story and providing tips to deal with mania and depression. I often write blogs related to advocating for people like myself. I want to encourage, inspire, and educate those with #bipolar disorder and other mental illnesses and also include inspirational #quotes. I founded the group Advocates for People with Mental Illnesses and the page Mental Health Advocates United and have several social media sites that are related to bipolar disorder and/or advocacy. If you are an advocate or would like to be, I hope you join our FB group: Advocates for People with Mental Illnesses
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10 Responses to Robin Williams a Coward? Apology NOT accepted!

  1. Thank you so much for this. I am sharing now.

  2. Bradley says:

    I’ve been out of the news loop for most of this week so this is the first I’ve heard of Shepard’s comment. It’s disgusting. Apperently Limbaugh made a similar asinine comment. Your list should be standard procedure for the news outlets to use when an event like this happens.

  3. gottleap says:

    It sickens me that such an inhumane statement was made referring to Robin Williams death. Addressing him as a coward due to his suicide. Sure our children lift us up they inspire us and fill our every being. However despair, depression and wanting to end it all can grab a hold of you weighing heavy on your mind. And never let you. As a news reporter they have the responsibility to use their words wisely. They shouldn’t comment on mental health if they are not educated in it.

  4. Comments left on Mental Health Advocates United’s Facebook page:

    Well said!

    Yea, he definitely wasn’t a coward. He was a brave fighter who lost the battle. He tried to get help. And if Shepard Smith had to be in Robin’s mind for five minutes he probably couldn’t have handled it either. No one but someone who has battled depression knows how agonizing it can be. People put dogs to sleep if they are suffering. but if a person takes their own life because of severe misery and suffering they are judged cruelly. hypocrisy. While I wish he wouldn’t have done it and I hope I keep winning my battles with depression, I would never dare call someone who lost their battle a coward.

    Apology definitely NOT accepted! This kind of attitude is what makes so many try and fail at handling this illness. Society will accept almost anything else. Say he died of alcoholism instead for example, it would be accepted more readily, however, they forget that alcoholics are generally a depressed person first who is seeking another avenue to quiet the demons screaming at them from inside. A news anchor on a public forum could easily have addressed the avenues of help arenas instead of slamming a person who just couldn’t do it anymore. It is easy for them to do when they have not experienced the difficulty first hand.

    Most definitely not accepted!! Depression along with bipolar is an everyday fight. Noone and I mean NOONE can understand this pain and fight we have everyday unless you’re going thru it yourself. You can be surrounded with loved ones and feel alone, you can have everything in life and still no peace. I pray that robin Williams has found the peace he most definitely deserved!

    Apparently Shepard Smith believes an apology wipes the slate clean. It doesn’t. He said what he said because he felt it. Maybe he should have researched the definition of a coward and the seriousness of major depression before he opened his big mouth.

    Unless you have been down that road no one but no one will ever understand what that man went through You can talk to the experts take medication drown your sorrows in alcohol and drugs have shock treatment but it surfaces again for whatever circumstan…See More

    Such an insensitive & ignorant comment, Shep is clueless

  5. Dane Alves says:

    This is something I wrote on my facebook wall. I was trying to educate some people.

    Hello people of Facebook. It has come to my attention that due to the recent loss of actor/comedian Robin Williams, people have once again chimed in on subjects that they are surely not educated in. First, I should note that everyone is entitled to what they want to believe. Just like everyone is entitled to mourn anyone they want to mourn. Family member, friend, or even an iconic presence that was apart of their life. I grew up watching, and comedicly idolizing all in which this man presented with his performances. I think it’s sad that he has passed most definitely, but this issue goes far beyond that.

    This is about the way society both perceives, and ignores mental disorders. The concept is not fabricated. It’s not some voodoo magic bull shit. Mental disorders/diseases exist, and have for a very long time. Whether you suffer from depression, bipolar disorder(which really coincides with depression), or even schizophrenia, it’s not EVER something you choose willingly. The sad part is that because of society, if you get help you’re a pussy and can’t handle the world. BUT if you torture yourself through it, you’re either crazy or unnoticed.

    I have suffered from bipolar disorder in the past. I still live with the disease, but have chose to medicate it, and live extremely happy. It’s been seven years since I put myself in the black trenches of my mind. Scared, manic, and not understanding why I was in such a rut. And let me tell you, it got dark. REAL dark! I started losing it, but I still put on that smile and tried to make people laugh. Mainly, because it was one of the only things keeping me going. I also missed out on opportunities, and overall progressed less. Things that have since been corrected after I did something about it.

    The reality of the matter is, that I wasn’t doing this to myself. I wasn’t a mental masochist. No, my brain was not right and slowly started to show this in my mid twenties. Something later I would find out was hereditary. When you have something like this, your brain reacts like any organ with a malfunction. With the brain, it usually is from the serotonin level. Basically, if your level is high it causes you to feel euphoric. Low, it causes depression. This pace is usually caused from normal life events. When you have a condition like bipolar disorder, the flow of Serotonin is blocked, it disperses un-eveningly, and your body reacts from the side effects. It’s not some self inflicted thing that you have control over. If you allow it to build, the worse it gets. More time you “deal with it”, the more you search for a permanent solutions. The disease can also lay dormant until tragedy causes it to surface. Increasing the severity of the matter.

    I would also like to address a self inflicted mental disorder known as addiction. I, like many, have had issues in the past, and like many chose to get help. Although I have never faced the problems together, I know that when you are suffering from a dependency problem, that increases the weight of your mental disorder. The depression lies dormant when you’re riding, and when you get off the horse the depression hits you that much harder.

    So basically, I was just trying to let everyone know that it isn’t that black and white. If anything good can happen from this tragedy maybe it’s mental disorder awareness. I’m not trying to condone suicide. Suicide is the most selfish act one can do. I never got that far, because I got help. That doesn’t mean you magically get to that place without reason. And ANYONE out there wondering what’s wrong, why the world is so dark, GET HELP IMMEDIATELY!!! Don’t wait! Don’t just deal with it. People care about you, and life is worth soooo much more than that. Trust me, it’s not worth it to live in that condition, and it also magically doesn’t go away.

    Just wanted to give my two cents in the matter. Not worried about judgement, because I’ve always been like an open book. I just hope people understand what it’s like from the opposite side of the coin. And if you are still rolling your eyes at this silly garbage I just spewed, delete me! Like I did last year with my homophobe rant, I would rather weed out the ignorance. Thank you all regardless, and have a lovely evening. RIP Robin Williams

  6. stopsoldiersuicide says:

    We fight the stigma daily for our military men and women who feel so alone and hopeless they take their own lives at an EPIDEMIC rate. 30+ a day. These ARE NOT cowards. They are our brothers and sisters being left behind. WE MUST #StopTheStigma

    • I agree 100% and hope that some day soon things will change. We, as advocates, need to keep educating others, raise awareness, and taking steps each in our own way to erase the stigma.

  7. Pingback: Tom Sullivan: Does Fox News discriminate against those with mental illnesses? | Bipolar Bandit

  8. Al says:

    You are totally right. That moron Sheepard has no right to judje such people as Robin Williams.

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