Fox News anchor Shep Smith did his very best to eulogize Robin Williams with the grace and eloquence the actor deserved. He began by sharing this quote from Williams, reminding his audience that before he was a world famous comedian and actor, he was a father to three children:
“My children give me a great sense of wonder. Just to see them develop into these extraordinary human beings. And a favorite book as a child? Growing up, it wasThe Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe — I would read the whole C.S. Lewis series out loud to my kids. I was once reading to Zelda, and she said ‘don’t do any voices. Just read it as yourself.’ So I did, I just read it straight, and she said ‘that’s better.'”
But Smith couldn’t help himself. He asks a question we all ask ourselves when something this unimaginable happens: how can someone with three kids who they love so much take their own lives? Instead of letting his audience ponder such an unanswerable question, Smith offers up his own explanation, reminding everyone that yes, he is an asshole.
UPDATE: Smith has apologized:
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 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.
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.