ABC News Issues Apology For Streaming Video of Robin Williams’ Home

Robin Williams Dead Obit
Ben Gabbe/Getty Images

ABC News said it apologized for streaming video of actor Robin Williams’ home after news of his death broke Monday.

“When we realized there was no news value to the live stream, we took it down immediately,” the network unit said in a statement. “Our intention was not to be insensitive to his family, friends and fans, and for that we apologize.”

ABC News on its website placed graphics telling visitors it had “live aerials” of Williams’ home, located near San Francisco. The display and wording, as well as the decision to show pictures of the property after Williams’ family asked for privacy, stirred up outrage in various social-media outlets.

Filed Under:

Want to read more articles like this one? SUBSCRIBE TO VARIETY TODAY.
Post A Comment 52

Leave a Reply


Comments are moderated. They may be edited for clarity and reprinting in whole or in part in Variety publications.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

  1. I agree with Rhonda, they are vultures hands down with no respect at all whatsoever except for their ratings

  2. Rhonda Sovey says:

    You are a liar. You fid it for entertainment “lets see if a body comes out” doing a house watch. Shame on you always want a story in life or death. People like ABC and TMZ. Posted Suge Knight died in surgery then sneaked it off their site. You all have no respect for death, family grief and common decency! Apology not accepted! Still remember John Kennedy and Jr’s death still licking the trash for something missef or you can make up!

  3. ina Pillar says:

    Where is Yahoo’s apology!

  4. MermaidD says:

    . “Our intention was not to be insensitive to his family, friends and fans, and for that we apologize.”
    So ABC is apologizing for being not insensitive?

  5. JumpyGathers says:

    I’m quite certain the prevailing attitude around ABC News at the the time was ” Let’s show the house first…we’ll apology later “. That’s right out of their Playbook.

  6. Richard J Sisson III says:

    Would have liked to hear and see more about Robin Williams, his life as an actor, and he was the best and the public deserves to hear more.

  7. Mike Baughs says:

    200 Hollywood figures sign petition to support Israel. How do they want Israel supported? I have a suggestion. The US can increase weapons and military equipment sales to Israel so it can continue to repress the rightful owners of the land by denying them equality, human rights, and keeping them in abject poverty. They (Israel) can also ramp up the mass murder, in the upper hundreds per week, of innocent men, women, and children who are “non-combatants”. Oh, this is the land of the free and the home of the brave? Where are the people we killed, tortured, and stole this land from? They’re still living on small parcels of land set aside to contain them suffering abject poverty. How did this nation become prosperous and grow to what it is today? Well, there were these people called Africans who were abducted, dragged in chains across the ocean, sold at auction into slavery. Yeah, they are the ones who worked the plantations which were the backbone of this nation. Now, do we Americans have a right to preach morality to the world? Freedom? The civilian population this country are being covertly, illegally, and unconstitutionally spied on. Anyone who challenges the government, the world view that the ruling powers want everyone to believe, political correctness, or otherwise speaks unpopular opinions, is censored, harassed, and subjected to “mistreatment”. Is this the same freedom that we are preaching to the world? Is this what our service people are getting killed, raped, and tortured for? I suggest everyone read the first couple of paragraphs of The Declaration of Independence.

    • Willie-O says:

      and what the hell does this have to do with ABC, the death of Robin Williams or anything else remotely connected to this story ? NOTHING other than some of the majority supporting Israel happen to live in hollywood and Williams is a hollywood figure. here’s an idea jackass, find a political website to spew your historically incorrect babble – once you get settled in that is

  8. Elnora Sandlin says:

    Thanks for the article. ABC Go offers some great shows and of course the ABC live feature. If you don’t live in US, you can use UnoTelly or similar tools to access it in your country.

  9. Jennifer says:

    I’m so sorry for his passing and families loss. I know bad things happen to good people and we question and wonder. He’s helped me understand I’m not alone and am seeking further treatment. I had heart surgery at the age of 38 in 2011 and been struggling with depression. It’s a major life changer. This was a HUGE wake up call for me. I admire how days prior he touched out to that terminal ly I’ll woman who’s dying wish was to meet him but was to frail to fly to the US. May he rest in peace and God bless his family.

  10. Nice job on the non-apology, ABC. Also, why doesn’t anyone give credit where it is due? It was Maddox who was among the first to alert everyone to ABC’s reprehensible behavior. Variety just hopped on the bandwagon after the fact, like all the other news sites.

  11. Rich says:

    The Sheriff’s department has the address plastered on their front page. Does that kind of information really need to go on the public website? It’s almost as if they want the reporters to announce private information who knows why, maybe job security.

  12. grizzeled says:

    You notice how they know they should not have done it, but they did it anyway (probably for the ratings) then say they are sorry after the fact, PITIFUL, they should get banned or majorly fined.

  13. Christine says:

    They should apologize – better yet, they should have known better than to do so in the first place. No Class ABC, No Class.

  14. Lisa says:

    ABC news, you’re disgusting for this. Typical media sensationalizing anything for the sake of ratings.

  15. Mammy says:

    If ABC and this includes other forms of the media, were a little more respectful of human feelings, they wouldn’t have been there and would not have to apologize. Think before you act. Be human and show compassion. We all feel hurt by this.

  16. carpentersvilleplayhouse says:

    typical stupid media they just don’t know how to control the urge to ruin peoples lives it is so sad that these people butt on anybody

  17. Lori Heckman Desko says:

    Dear Susan, I’m so broken hearted over Robins death. I’ve been crying of and on since it xame o out on the news.he so much laughter and happiness to so many people, and did truly had a wonderful loving heart. When he did the comercials for Shriners hospital for children it would put a smile on my face, because you just knew he generally cared. I will miss him very much as I know the rest of the world will as well. I don’t know you Susan but I’m sending you love, comfort and hugs to your whole family.
    Lori Heckman Desko.

  18. DAMARISCuevas says:


  19. youbetyoursweetasta! says:

    What made me firei almost sick to my stomach, was Fox News. It was bad enough when Shepard Smith called Robin, selfish, but when the police report went into the “too much info” mode and reported that Mr. Williams was in rigor mortis. Gretchen Carlson then ask in her most inquisitive voice, how much Rigor mortis was he was in. Tell me why she shouldn’t be fired for such a coment. People can be so stupid!

  20. Many who are gone from us, if they had a last chance, they might have this to say: Reserve judgment for and label the addiction, Judge NOT those who lost control in their war against their addiction.

  21. innerjuju says:

    Had I known that ABC had it posted, I would have watched it.

  22. Imaginarium says:

    This is not an apology by ABC, it’s an insulting afterthought and there is not a iota of sincerity in that release.
    The footage that ABC streamed may not have been valuable to them however their intrusion stole the privacy that Robin’s family had requested, privacy that was valuable to them.
    Unfortunately in our celebrity obsessed society news outlets and gutter press feel it’s their duty to release this type of information, apparently there were thousands of complaints about this live feed, I wonder how many people actually followed the link provided before voicing their outrage.

  23. Donna Reed says:

    Geez….maybe it’s me…but I remember watching “live news feed” of Nicole Brown Simpson’s condo right after her body was discovered, and Phil Hartman’s home when his wife shot him and then killed herself….??? Goodness…we’ve grown up watching this stuff…..and it wasn’t just ABC either….it was ALL of them…..

  24. Mat says:

    Shouldn’t someone get fired, isn’t that the way things work, after all Anthony Cumia got fired for something he did on his own time, this is a lot worse then what he did.

  25. Ryan says:

    one reason this world is going to shit!

  26. Lois Kobb says:

    The ABC execs do not really feel sorry, and that is evident in their fake apology. The only reason they apologized at all was because so many people called them out on it. Thank you, Maddox, for bringing this to our attention!

  27. Gary Kunich says:

    “When we realized there was no news value … ” Wow. Way to dick up an already lame apology. Shame on them. They made themselves news. The irony here of posting that above a story where the Williams family asks for privacy. There intention wasn’t to be insensitive to the family? No, their intention was they didn’t give two craps about the family. Disgusting.

  28. TIL: ABC posts things to their front page before determining if they have “news value.”

  29. R.D. Frable ♞ says:

    Hey, be glad this was confined to the Net. They could have interrupted…General Hospital.

  30. Andrew Dane says:

    “When we realized there was no news value to the live stream…”

    ABC’s intention was not to be insensitive, but to draw up as many ratings as you could off the death of a brilliant artist.

    ABC is “sorry” people didn’t flock to them to watch the rooftop of a house that belonged to a person with more worth than their network.

    ABC is “sorry” they fail miserably at their jobs and that they can’t even be asked to consider respecting a man who passed away and not make him a source of income on his death.

    ABC is sorry alright: sorry excuses for human beings.

  31. crucesignati says:

    Actually, this episode wasn’t that much more disappointing than their coverage of every day news. If you want to know what’s really happening in the US and around the world, read any number of news sources from UK.

    • A. Brit says:

      Please. Don’t.
      Our UK news Is just as biased and while it is lot better than USA I just can’t recommend It.

      • Derp says:

        Please Cruce, it’s a dark time for journalism here because rage bating and misrepresentation are par for the course. The days of journalistic integrity and altruism have long since passed. It’s all about getting people fired up to generate ad revenue. That’s why I have no sympathy for the reporters in Missouri. While the police were out of line, journalists have contributed to our country’s toxic climate all in the name of making a buck. If keeping liberals vs conservatives, blacks vs. whites, etc. at each other’s throats makes them money, they’ll do it…then cry when it bites them on their bottoms.

      • crucesignati says:

        Perhaps coverage of the UK is biased or incomplete, but your more respected news sources are much more likely to have better coverage of US news – especially political news. It’s a dark time for journalism here. Reporters have been tried by secret courts and jailed as spies, editors have been intimidated by this administration and written op-ed pieces about it – the braver ones have at least.

  32. Jameson says:

    You’re only sorry that you got such bad PR for being such classless dirtbags. Stuff your sorries in a sock, ABC.

  33. niveknatnof says:

    monsters the whole likes of you. Even attempting to profit from the mans death. Humanity sickens me sometimes.

  34. johnny blow me says:

    Sounds like you’re sorry it backfired on you and you didn’t make money from it.

  35. butterflyfish3d says:

    Pro tip: There is NO news value in post-tragedy coverage of someone’s house. Ever. The fact that you thought there might be is repellent, in and of itself.

  36. Pat says:

    Why the hell can’t the family be left in peace to grieve for their loss, ( in private), what the hell has his home to do with any one, His home is private and they deserve PRIVACY………. A wonderful man who brought smiles and laughter to so many, that will be missed and loved by us all, but more so by his family, My heart goes out to them ……. Show some respect and give them space and privacy.

  37. Roger and out says:

    Of course it was newsworthy, especially as it showed the comings and goings of the house. ABC brass are pandering to the entertainment community, which they treat differently from others.

    • Derp says:

      Non members of the entertainment community were outraged. In what alternate universe is nosing in on someone’s personal grief newsworthy? It’s nobody’s business but their own and it’s of no benefit to us to spy on their private moments, to say nothing of all the other things going on in the world that we actually do need to know about and act on.

  38. lilk says:

    there was live streaming when edward kennedy died. his family aslo asked for privacy.
    why is this different? is it bc ed died of cancer adn robin hung himself ?

  39. jdrakeca89 says:

    shame on abc a live stream of the home what were they hoping to do, leave the family alone. not everything should have 24 /7 coverage SHAME and apology not accepted

More TV News from Variety