Robin Williams' daughter quits social media

TAKING REFUGE: Zelda Williams - seen here with her late father, Robin - has gone on a hiatus from her social-media accounts because they had been mined for photos of her dad and Internet trolls had attacked her.


    Aug 15, 2014

    Robin Williams' daughter quits social media


    THE daughter of Robin Williams quit social media on Wednesday, upset by Internet trolls and the online pilfering of photos of her Oscar-winning dad following his death by apparent suicide.

    "I will be leaving this account for a bit while I heal and decide if I'd be deleting it or not," Zelda Williams, 25, wrote on Instagram beneath a photo of a butterfly.

    "In this difficult time, please try to be respectful of the accounts of myself, my family and my friends," she asked.

    The death of Williams - one of the finest comedy talents of his generation - at the age of 63 prompted a global outpouring of public grief on social media.

    Tabloids ran wild with speculation that he might have been pushed to the edge by supposed money problems and the cancellation of his CBS sitcom, The Crazy Ones, after one season.

    He had three films in post-production: Night At The Museum: Secret Of The Tomb, Merry Friggin' Christmas, and Absolutely Anything, directed by Monty Python alumnus Terry Jones.

    In her Instagram post, Zelda expressed frustration at the way family photos posted online had been used, and how Internet trolls had attacked her.

    "Mining our accounts for photos of dad, or judging me on the number of them, is cruel and unnecessary," added the actress, who appeared with her father in the 2004 drama House Of D.

    On Twitter, Zelda invited fans to make donations to St Jude Children's Research Hospital, a renowned paediatric medical centre in Memphis, Tennessee, that her father supported.

    Williams - whose hit films included Good Will Hunting, Good Morning Vietnam and Mrs. Doubtfire - was found dead in his San Francisco area home on Monday by his personal assistant.

    The father of three, who sometimes made light of his troubles with substance abuse and his stints in rehab, had been seeking treatment for severe depression.

    "His life ended due to asphyxia due to hanging," Marin County assistant coroner Keith Boyd said at a press conference on Tuesday, as an investigation continued.

    While the Oscar winner's death came as a bolt from the blue to the public, the actor's long-time friend and fellow comedian, Bob Zmuda, said he was not "totally shocked" by the news.

    Zmuda, the founder of the charity Comic Relief, for which the actor had helped raise more than US$70 million (S$87 million), said that Williams had difficulty connecting with people offstage and that even those who knew him well were unaware of how severe his depression was.

    "Sometimes, I would meet him one-on-one, he would be so uncomfortable, he really had no social skills, and that's probably one of the reasons he needed to be onstage," Zmuda said. "That was his life blood, that was his psychological imperative and, without that, he was pretty lost."

    A tweet from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, which presented Williams with an Oscar for best supporting actor in Good Will Hunting, raised eyebrows.

    "Genie, you're free," it said, over a picture of the genie - voiced by Williams - embracing Aladdin in the animated Disney adaptation of the enduring folk tale.

    Many interpreted it as a suggestion that suicide is somehow an acceptable form of liberation from one's demons - an idea that experts warned could encourage others to take their own lives.

    "Making statements like that ('you're free') potentially increases the risk of suicide contagion," said Daniel Reidenberg of the Save suicide prevention organisation.

    "They are not appropriate or helpful."

    Unmoved, the Academy left its solemn farewell to Williams - retweeted 320,000 times and favourited 230,000 times - on its Twitter account on Wednesday.