In times of collective grief, the Internet can be a wonderful place to share memories, kind thoughts and supportive gestures. We learned that lesson again this week after the death of Robin Williams, whose life was celebrated by dozens of fellow actors and comedians whose careers, and hearts, were touched by his generosity and unique spirit.
But, sadly, social media can also be a place for pettiness and bullying. We also learned that lesson (again), on Wednesday morning (August 13), when Williams’ daughter, Zelda, announced she was deleting her Twitter and Instagram accounts after she was sent malicious comments and photos of her late father by a few vicious users.
If you or someone you know is dealing with digital abuse, check out A THIN LINE for resources, tips, and immediate help.
“I will be leaving this account for a [bit] while I heal and decide if I’ll be deleting it or not,” wrote Zelda, 25, who, along with her brothers, had shared her touching thoughts on her father’s life and death. “In this difficult time, please try to be respectful of the accounts of myself, my family and my friends. Mining our accounts for photos of dad, or judging me on the number of them is cruel and unnecessary. There are a couple throughout, but the real private moments I shared with him were precious, quiet, and believe it.”
Along with an overwhelming number of tweets of support, Zelda said she’d gotten a few that were so upsetting she was shaken by them. “Please report @PimpStory @MrGoosebuster. I’m shaking. I can’t. Please. Twitter requires a link and I won’t open it. Don’t either. Please,” she wrote Tuesday before deleting that tweet, according to E! News.
I'm sorry. I should've risen above. Deleting this from my devices for a good long time, maybe forever. Time will tell. Goodbye.
— Zelda Williams (@zeldawilliams) August 13, 2014
In a statement released on Tuesday, Zelda honored her father and thanked those with kind words and, in his spirit, called out the haters with a joke. “To those he touched who are sending kind words, know that one of his favorite things in the world was to make you all laughs,” she wrote. “As for those who are sending negativity, know that some small, giggling part of him is sending a flock of pigeons to your house to poop on your car. Right after you’ve had it washed. After all, he loved to laugh too.”
Williams, 63, was found dead in his home in Tiburon, California, on Monday. The Marin County Sheriff’s Office Coroner Division said the official preliminary cause of death was asphyxia due to hanging, and his rep said in a statement that the actor had “been battling severe depression of late.”
If you or someone you know is dealing with depression, there are ways to get help. Find resources, tips, and immediate help at Half of Us, or call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK.