Henry Rollins Apologizes For Suicide Article That Criticized Robin Williams

Earlier this week, Henry Rollins wrote an editorial for LA Weekly called “Fuck Suicide,” in which he criticized parents — Robin Williams specifically — for killing themselves because of the trauma it leaves behind for their children. He’s now apologized for his comments in a statement on his website. “That I hurt anyone by what I said, and I did hurt many, disgusts me. It was not at all my intent but it most certainly was the result.” He also talks about his struggle with depression. “I am not asking for a break from the caning, take me to the woodshed as much as you see fit,” he continued. “If what I said has caused you to be done with me, I get it.” Read the full statement below.

For the last 9+ hours, I have been answering letters from people from all over the world. The anger is off the scale and in my opinion, well placed.

The article I wrote in the LA Weekly about suicide caused a lot of hurt. This is perhaps one of the bigger understatements of all time. I read all the letters. Some of them were very long and the disappointment, resentment and ringing clarity was jarring.
That I hurt anyone by what I said, and I did hurt many, disgusts me. It was not at all my intent but it most certainly was the result.

I have had a life of depression. Some days are excruciating. Knowing what I know and having been through what I have, I should have known better but I obviously did not. I get so mad when I hear that someone has died this way. Not mad at them, mad at whatever got them there and that no one magically appeared to somehow save them.

I am not asking for a break from the caning, take me to the woodshed as much as you see fit. If what I said has caused you to be done with me, I get it.

I wrote something for the LA Weekly that they will post on Monday.

I wanted to get this out at this moment.

I am deeply sorry. Down to my marrow. I can’t think that means anything to you, but I am. Completely sorry. It is not of my interest to hurt anyone but I know I did. Thank you for reading this. Henry

[Photo by Heidi May.]

Comments (11)
  1. Hidden due to low comment rating. Click here to see

    • As someone who has also been there, it’s not what people need to hear. What he said came from a place of anger rather than caring, and it had the potential to do a lot more harm than good. Mental illness is something that is grossly misunderstood by a lot of people even today, and the last thing we need is someone spitting out essays about their misguided beliefs about it.

      That said, I appreciate his apology. When I read what he wrote in LA Weekly, I felt insulted and hurt by what he said, but reading this helps me to understand where he was coming from, and shows that he truly cares, and isn’t a complete fucking jerkoff.

  2. Hidden due to low comment rating. Click here to see

    • I disagree. I think it makes perfect sense to suffer from depression and feel the emotions he initially expressed. It’s natural for anyone to feel angry after a suicide especially for those connected to that suicide whether that be connected by personal relationship or connected through also suffering depression. As some close to the victim, like Robin’s family, there is often at least slight feelings of anger mixed up in the oceans of sadness and sorrow they feel as well as guilt for feeling that anger. Sometimes that anger and guilt can be self-contained or expressed in away that retracts itself “I know it’s not right or fair to feel this way but I do have feelings of resentment”, but sometimes this anger gets misplaced and confused and those feelings can also be expressed and then be reflected on and those feelings can change. For people who suffer from depression and have considered suicide it’s very tough when someone else succumbs to their depression. It’s especially hard with someone like Robin Williams because when you feel like you’ve been handling your own depression in a relatively healthy way and that you might be able to life a full and happy life with it you see someone who is not only successful, but achieves so many personal goals of making people happy and raising a family in a seemingly happy and successful way and then he takes his life. You start to feel like your success of coping is only recent and temporary and maybe it’ll always be an inescapable suffering that’ll inevitably give into as Williams, someone more capable of inspiring joy and happiness then you, did in the later half of his life. Those feelings can turn into anger as well as feelings for others that suffer for depression, maybe you’re not more likely to take your life not, but you have feelings of “come on man how can the millions of other “normal people” suffering from depression out here not be discouraged by this, why couldn’t you consider the effects of your actions not only on your family and friends, but also the members or your fans that might really go through darkness again from this news” of course this isn’t really a fair criticism to put on a victim of suicide, but sometimes it’s a necessary feeling to have, express, and then reflect on in order to cope with it. For Rollins it was very public and hurt a lot of people, he realizes the faults in his feelings as well as choices made in articulating and publicizing those feelings.

  3. I’ll wait to see his follow-up column before he makes a final judgment, but since he wrote such an inflamatory column — and worse, one that seemed purposefully provocative without encouraging any meaningful discussion — it’s tough for me to really believe that he didn’t expect such a response. Pretty tone-deaf.

  4. I wondered what Henry would do for an encore. The only thing that could be more shocking than that suicide article he wrote would be an actual Henry Rollins apology, and by God if he didn’t give us one!

  5. I certainly buy his apology more than I do Gene Simmons. I also believe that Rollins is most of the time a better human being than Gene Simmons, so it makes sense.

  6. His apology seems heartfelt. I didn’t even really find his original remarks all that offensive– just a thoughtless and careless, especially considering the amount of lost (and probably depressed) souls who found solace in his work over the past several decades. Henry is known for his off-the-cuff, candid way of speaking. I can forgive him for sounding ignorant once in awhile.

  7. He was great on a Happy Days!

  8. good on hank. i’m looking forward to reading his piece. hopefully he has learned that a disease cannot be defeated merely by flexing a muscle at it.

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