Fox anchor Shepard Smith apologises for calling Robin Williams a ‘coward’

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Fox News anchor Shepard Smith has issued a lengthy apology, after labelling actor Robin Williams “a coward” after he was found dead in an apparent suicide.

Williams, a strong supporter of LGBT equality and who starred as a gay man in cult classic The Birdcage, was found dead in his California home on Monday.

In May, Smith dismissed claims that he was demoted from his old Fox News timeslot because he planned to come out.

Smith had said: “One of the children he so loved… one of the children grieving tonight because their father killed himself in a fit of depression.

“It’s hard to imagine 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.”

In an apology issued to Mediaite, Smith said: “I spent an entire hour talking about how much this man affected people’s lives and brought greatness to this world.

“I 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 neighbours 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.

“I was sorry to read online the people who see the world in a black-and-white way, and to suggest that they might have a definitive analysis of why he did such a thing.

“What I wanted to do is celebrate his life and find some meaning in our own lives, since we often do know someone who is reaching out, and we have a responsibility to help that person — maybe a phone call or a door knock is in order.

“But no matter how you process it: Look at what this family is going through.

“I would never presume to know anything about his private life. And if any of his family members and friends were to have seen me use the word ‘coward,’ I would be horrified.

“I would just to apologize to the end of the earth to anyone who might think that I meant to openly call him a coward. 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.”