Shep Smith, Fox News’s one and only rational employee did a stupid thing yesterday in the wake of Robin Williams’ suicide. Speaking on his show, Smith lamented the actor’s untimely passing and wondered out loud whether Williams was a coward. He said:
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.
It wasn’t exactly an appropriate moment to express this particular idea, especially given it was Robin Williams he was talking about – one of the most beloved figures in cinematic history. The internet reacted with outrage, with LGBT activist ‘Joe My God’ going as far as to point out Smith’s own cowardice in not publicly revealing his sexuality:
Closeted Fox News Anchor Shepard Smith Calls Robin Williams "Such A Coward": Via Raw Story: Fox News host Shep… http://t.co/Yjdg6yZ0kz
— JoeMyGod (@JoeMyGod) August 12, 2014
Whether or not this is a fair critique, there is a vein of truth to it. Smith’s offhand comment about Williams not having the courage to face his demons seems a little rich coming from a man who could probably do a lot of good by telling America what it already essentially knows.
Regardless, Smith profusely apologized for his comments in a conversation with Mediaite, proving again that he is a pretty decent guy. He said:
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.
Take note, public figures, this is how you do an apology.
Ben Cohen is the editor and founder of The Daily Banter. He lives in Washington DC where he does podcasts, teaches Martial Arts, and tries to be a good father. He would be extremely disturbed if you took him too seriously.