Fox News’ Shepard Smith ‘Sorry’ for Robin Williams ‘Coward’ Remark After Social Media Outcry

On Fox News’ Monday evening coverage of actor and comedian Robin Williams’ death, host Shepard Smith used the word  “coward” when talking about Williams’ suicide. After a social media outcry as a result of the remark, Smith has issued a statement.

“The last thing I would ever suggest about a man I know nothing about personally, is that he’s a coward,” Smith told TVNewser. “That goes against everything I am. If those words, I used so innocently, offended his family, from the bottom of my heart, I could not be more sorry.”

Near the end of the live show, Smith read a quote from Williams about how the actor’s three children “gave him a great sense of wonder.”

Smith then followed the quote by saying, “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.”

According to the Marin County Sheriff’s Office, Williams died of asphyxia due to hanging in his northern California home on Monday. He was 63.

Smith is the managing editor of Fox News’ breaking news division and the host of “Shepard Smith Reporting.” He has no children.

Other media outlets have taken heat on social media for their coverage on the comedian’s death. Earlier Tuesday morning ABC News issued an apology for streaming video of Robin Williams’ home on Monday.



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  1. Jim says:

    When any person suffers from severe depression commits suicide the torture they are forced to endure is indescribable. I assure anyone who has never experienced it they could never begin to know the horror it inflicts on those who by the way never asked to be cursed with it. They are no different from a 3rd degree burn victim unable to obtain any pain relief. Relief not death is what most seek and unfortunately for many no relief is available. Who would want to exist with the torture it brings? If you have never experienced it, it’s like trying to tell a dying cancer patient ” I know how you feel ” yeah right.

  2. Hopsaregood says:

    I think maybe it takes a lot of nerve to end it like that. When you know it is time to go, what is the problem with doing it?

  3. Robert Morgan says:

    I’d call Smith a wanker, but wanking has a use!!

  4. Bridget says:

    This Smith guy is KNOWN for screwing up. A few years back he used the words blow job when telling a Jennifer Lopez story and apologized for that mistake. He is a real jerk and who is surprised that he works at Fox.

  5. lamestreamdoc says:

    I understand Smith’s reaction completely. There’s a pretty good chance Smith enjoyed Williams’ humor and talent as the rest of us do. And it’s often difficult to accept that what he did in his final act was ultimately beyond anyone else’s control and was his choice; Williams most likely was in so much inescapable pain that it was the only — and best — alternative; from his perspective. He wasn’t in a place to consider the loss it would generate, and now we’re all processing that loss and for some it generates anger and betrayal. It’s good Smith had the courage/vulnerability to apologize. And it still makes complete sense for him to be angry and lash out. But now, it’s over, and we can all move on a little more…

    • Robert Morgan says:

      Smith did NOT have the courage or vulnerability to apologise. Far from it, he knew the game was up and thought he should engage in intensive damage limitation. As I have posted previously, this is not an apology. It’s only sorry in the sense that it is a sorry excuse for an apology.

  6. houx says:

    Shep don’t worry. I think it does seem confusing that a guy like Robin, who could make so many people laugh, could also be so depressed. I understood your reaction, to say he was a coward, but it does take a lot of guts to kill oneself, That is why it is one of the great mysteries of the mind that in a brief moment a person feels so hopeless to even consider killing himself is hard for a person who doesn’t suffer from depression could ever understand. Don’t feel bad for what you said. I think it is a normal reaction because it made you angry at that moment because people feel helpless because they could stop the situation from happening. But nobody knows what goes on in the mind of a person. And even when a depressed person does confined on a down day, it is always look at as such a failure of the human brain to show such sadness or weakness. I hope this helps you. As a person myself who suffers depression I knew how you felt at that moment. Just remember life if sometimes more of a mental challenge than a physical challenge. And I have heard worse from other anchors on other channels. Have a good weekend and keep on doing what you do shep. You make me laugh with your over the top enthusiasm. Thanks.

  7. saduslover says:

    I generally like Shepard Smith, but for him to say that his words were “used so innocently” seems disingenuous at best. There is no way to use those words “innocently”. Maybe Shepard is a coward for trying to be duplicitous about the stupidity and insensitivity of the remarks, rather than manning up to his error.

  8. rpbilleaud says:

    Jesus, it’s impossible to find any decent news on TV anymore. CBS, NBC, ABC, CNBC, MSNBC, CNN, all same side of the coin. Spoon fed liberal claptrap. Only it doesn’t get any better at Fox. The commentators are conservative, but I sometimes wonder if they have a complete brain between ’em. They discuss the most inane topics and have zero objectivity – and sometimes they are actually worse than the guys at those other networks. Sometimes I just want to throw up my hands and other times I just want to throw up.

  9. Ram6 says:

    Sheppard Smith = plastic twit. Why this man continues to have his job at FNC is beyond belief. He can’t even rad a teleprompter without stumbling, he rants incoherently about double decker busses in Manhattan and yet there he is to call Robin Williams a coward. He has to have pictures of someone high up at Fox. Yes, I don’t like him!!!

    • houx says:

      He is fun and light hearted comments at the noon hour on the west coast. We enjoy watching him and have a glass of wine with are lunch and listen to him on the East Coast. As for having a picture of someone high up at Fox. That sounds like something you would do pervert. He does have someone in accounting that signs his paycheck. You sound like you’re the type of person who watches MSNBC, the all about LGBT channel all the time, most self-centered bunch of narcissistic anchors and stories.

    • Dennis Shumnaker says:

      You don’t know him. You’re parroting liberal babble.

  10. hyjyljyj says:

    I used to think it was cowardly too, but actually in a weird way it’s a peculiar type of overarching courage that lets a person push past the genetic drive for self-preservation and end a situation the mind deems intolerable. To be able to ignore the pain and fear of death that is in every person because the pain and fear in life is worse–and actually do what so many millions of us at one time or another will allow ourselves to contemplate if only fleetingly–takes an enormous cache of boldness and supreme confidence, almost a type of serenity that what lies after must be no worse than this current hell. I thank God I don’t have the guts to pull it off. I’d never choose a slow, painful method like hanging or poisoning; it’d have to be a 25-story leap or a gun. My thing is, I can’t stand thinking about the 10-second free fall where I change my mind, or the recoil of the pistol chipping my front teeth. Crazy? Maybe so, but not as crazy as killing yourself.

    RIP Robin, we all wish you hadn’t done it, but at least you’re not in pain any longer.

  11. It’s way past time for Fox News to dump Shepard Smith.

  12. John Steimle says:

    Well it is quite obvious you know nothing, nothing at all about people who have committed suicide, attempted to commit suicide, or being a survivor of a loved one that has died by their own hand. The depths of despair a human can reach are unfathomable, and it is so easy for lameass bystanders to call us cowards, or for others to determine stupidity or idiocy about anyone else. Learn to understand and eventually when a crisis may enter your own life you might be better prepared to deal with it, for although most people are blessed with never experiencing this situation, those of us that have know just how profoundly terrible it can be. Good luck.

  13. Mary Anne Meyer says:

    Smith is an idiot and after all you can’t fix stupid. I hope he crawls back under his rock located in the cave called ignorance.

  14. Chris says:

    I was so in AWE of Shepard Smiths covarage of Hurricaine Katrina, just truthful, Honest reporting. He had my respect as a TRUE journalist! I watched LIVE his reporting on Robin Williams death. telling the audiance to stay tuned to more information on the Comiedian who took the Cowards way out. It was Cold and Cruel and a ratings Hook. So unnessary.

    I hope you do not suffer any kind of darkness of depresion after reading the backlash of your Calus words. Especially the level of Desparation Mr. Williams must have felt. he would never have wished that on another human. At his lowest, darkest place he would have shown you compassion. Your Compassion for him left your soul and vomited out of your mouth just hours after his death. WHY? Where was this amazing reporter who fought for the victims of hurricane Katrina? What happened to you?

    Mr. Williams may have had a chemical disorder or had a adverse reaction to new drugs he was taking due to his recent diagnoses of Parkinson’s Dieases.

    We just don’t know, and YOU of course could not have known when you made your statement, however, you desided to make it anyway.

    I have no other words on this subject…I hope Mr. Shepard doesn’t either.

  15. Tracy says:

    Disgusting shameful remark, Mr. Smith. You don’t know that dark place.

  16. Calabash says:

    I wouldn’t call someone a “coward” who managed not only to live but also to succeed brilliantly in a demanding, competitive career for decades while dealing with clinical depression. That term should be reserved for far different situations. Say — speaking hypothetically, of course — a gay man remaining in the closet for decades rather than risk his high-profile job by revealing the truth about himself to an audience that might not accept him. THAT, I would call cowardice.

  17. “Never fight with an ugly person, they’ve got nothing to lose.” – Robin Williams
    Suck on that Shephard you ugly bottom feeding idiot.

  18. Michelle McCall says:

    He starts by saying the last thing her would he would ever do is ‘exactly what he did’. Let’s face it. The only thing he’s sorry about is the trouble it’s caused him. I’m not surprised. It’s just confirmation he’s the phony, heartless, dip s*** everyone already knows he is. What an embarrassment to the network and human kind. Seriously, get rid of him

    • Robert Morgan says:

      Not only do you hit the nail squarely on the head, but your comment is also 100% relevant – which is more than can be said for the interpersonal and political snipes and spats and irrelevant vitriol that have increasingly been appearing here this past few days. To all those concerned – this is about the late, great Robin Williams and the execrable Shephard Smith, not about you.

  19. Dale says:

    Mr. Smith’s half-hearted non-apology follows a pattern. He is an embarrassment to reporting and should be dismissed. Robin Williams entertained our troops on six U.S.O. tours in Iraq and Afghanistan over the years. Was that “cowardly?” Unlike Smith, Robin Williams was a selfless hero and will be missed.

  20. Tina M. says:

    Ashley, Ashley… As I have said before… I am neither a liberal or democrat and what “Shep” said was appalling and needs to be terminated. This is not the first time that he had offended people across the board. Besides, this string has nothing to due with political affiliation; it has everything to do with repeated unprofessionalism.
    Also, ALL media outlets skew their stories to benefit their owners’ political party. In order to get the truth, you need to research several stories on the internet…. It’s enlightening, I promise.

  21. Ashley Ward says:

    Shepard Smith made a 2 mistake in his young life! Give him a break, he’s from Ole Miss (1st mistake) so he can’t help his lack of judgement when speaking about Williams suicide! We love you Shep! But GEAUX Tigers!

  22. Rich says:

    Walk in his shoes before you name call. I’d boycott you’re station but I did that a long time ago. By the way Smith, you’re a big pussy.

  23. Robert Morgan says:

    ‘To yea I said it’ – what a nasty, venomous little moron you are. Not to mention semi-literate.

    • Robert Morgan says:

      Sorry, on reflection, I don’t think ‘Yea I said it’ (said what, incidentally?) is even semi-literate. Apologies to semi-literates everywhere.

      • Tina M. says:

        Hmmm…. I think it’s funny that not one of the SS supporters have been able to provide an intelligent reason why they support his opinion……
        And to “yeah, I said it”; you illustrate my point AND don’t even have the guts to use your real name…. LOL!!!! Whose the coward????

  24. Rich Altman says:

    Just a troll trying to provoke some attention…and several days late to the party. Don’t take this a-hole’s bait.

  25. David Charbonneau says:

    There is only one name I am familiar with in this story.Who is shepard smith? and who cares what he says.He is talking about possibly the number one entertainer of my generation.Can you break a window of the Empire State Building from the ground with a pebble?

    • Robert Morgan says:

      Careful, David – or you’ll get a stupid and irrelevant response from Rosita, as I did for also having the temerity to ask who Shephard Smith is.

  26. Please keep your opinion to yourself Shepard Smith?

  27. addie smith says:

    so stupid , for a supposed educated man. I always thought he was the fairest man on fox

  28. Shari says:

    WORDS USED SO INNOCENTLY? Shephard, Shephard, Shephard. Make no mistake, you’re the coward who isn’t man enough to fess up to being a judgmental ASS on the air. YOU DID MORE THAN SUGGEST IT, YOU OUT AND OUT SAID IT! And you do not even have the human decency to own up to it. No where in there do you even acknowledge Robin must have been in so much pain.

  29. ted says:

    I just watched Smith interview with Ralph Nader. He’s got a SNARKY WAY of interviewing. Like he’s an ‘authoritarian’. You can’t talk over him because he will just speak louder. Everybody on FOX does this.
    I call this COWARDLY

  30. Lizzie says:

    This isn’t the first time Sheperd Smith has stuck his big foot in his big mouth. What happened to fair and impartial reporting? He needs to be fired.

  31. Paula says:

    Tina, please reread my post and really try to understand this time. Explain to me why one cannot like someone just because they don’t condone a bad action that they committed? It is like having a child that you love do something that is wrong. Do you not love them now that they behaved badly? Or do you try to correct their bad behavior for their benefit because you love them? I know more about depression and suicide then you realize, so please, don’t throw that back in my face just to try and justify your opinion . I have not been cruel with my comments. Like I mentioned before, sometimes people ignore the truth even when it slaps them in the face. Do you not agree that the people that are left behind after a suicide do suffer greatly? In this present world most people are in the all about me mode and do not think compassionately about their brothers and sisters. Perhaps if they were as concerned about them as well as themselves they would hesitate to get so engulfed in their depression that they would actually pull the trigger.

    • Shari says:

      Paula – I am sorry you have obviously lost someone to suicide and have a great deal of anger over it you are still dealing with

    • ifirefly says:

      Some of you still have no clue!

      Go back and find my first post, or TRY to wrap your mind around these facts:

      1) Yes. In SOME cases, you are correct. Many are selfish, and think suicide is the only way out. They kill them selves with no thought to the lives they harm in the process.

      2) No. In OTHER cases, those with years of clinical, suicidal depression (most often from childhood) honestly feel THEY ARE the PROBLEM. They truly believe the only way to HELP those they love is to REMOVE themselves from their life. It takes a terrific amount of courage and planning to do what in THEIR MIND is a HUGE sacrifice. This is why it is called a “mental illness” because those with healthy minds cannot fathom someone who honestly thinks the world would be better off without them.

      So, everybody, including this reporter: stop the rush to judgement! You have NO idea which type of depression was suffered by Williams.

  32. fran manning says:

    i suppose all those soldiers committing suicide are cowards too. what is your opinion on that shepherd
    maybe you should be a real reporter and go to some of those war zones and bring a story. Maybe the truth for once in your life

  33. Tina M. says:

    While the stigma of mental illness is going away slowly; it’s still there and it’s very painful for people who feel forced to suffer alone. Because we know now that ALL mental illnesses are actually chemical imbalances in the brain; I think the term “mental illness” should be removed from our vocabulary. We no longer call someone, thankfully, a retard; we call them handicapped and we understand that they have obstacles that they did not ask for and did not deserve. We understand now and have compassion for those who are mentally and physically challenged. Maybe if we start calling mental illness a brain disease; it would be easier for some to comprehend??? By the way, I have an autistic grown daughter and a GROWN son who is OCD, ADD & Bi-Polar….. I suffer from PTSD, severe depression, panic attacks, IBS and migraines. We have the whole gammit at our house! LOL!!! Robin is in heaven, no longer suffering. May his family find peace quickly! He is watching over you!

    • Tina M. says:

      ***** I should have said that we know now that MOST types of mental illnesses are caused by a chemical imbalance in the brain. I was incorrect to say “ALL”.

  34. Tina M. says:

    Paula, are you pack peddling now? How can you say that you liked and will miss Mr. Williams and then call him a coward?
    You call me ignorant; what have I been ignorant about? Your the one who came after me with you initial, “Have you ever thought about Anger Management Therapy” post. Hmmm… Are you telling me that you are entitled to make aggressive, personal attacks without any recoil? Are you better than the rest of us to sit up on your perch and judge us personally? You attacked Mr. Williams and myself on a personal level…..Not once, other than now, have any of your posts been anything but insulting and demeaning quick comments. They have all been, “Mr. Williams was a coward and selfish and suicide is a selfish and cowardly act.” You have never expressed empathy for his family. Don’t you think your words, if his family read these posts, would be painful?
    No one said you were not entitled to be in the discussion until your only contributions were only negative and not productive. I am not the only one that asked you to leave. As a matter of fact; I don’t know that anyone has defended your viewpoints. Nothing can be gained by negativity and judgemental behavior. If you do not have something to help the discussion; leave. Your not going to change our viewpoints which we have gained through education and experience.
    I did not attack SS personally; I said he should be terminated from his job.
    While I don’t know your experience with suicide; I can only assume, based on your comments, that you know very little about mental illness. I have attempted in previous posts to explain, as others have, how clinical depression effects the brain. In our society we do not hold people accountable for their actions; when they are not able to comprehend the difference between right and wrong. We have empathy for those individuals and then do what is necessary to protect them from themselves and potentially others. When Mr. Williams was in the final days and people noticed that he was withdrawing again, he should be been put back into the hospital. That’s where the guilt comes in. Anyone who has walked in those shoes understands. But to call a mentally ill person, selfish and a coward is cruel. Mr. Williams was not a criminal that committed suicide to escape punishment. When criminals commit suicide to evade punishment; those are indeed selfish and cowardly acts!
    It might be good for you to learn about clinical depression; it is NOT the same as someone who is just having a sad day. Clinical depression is a physical illness that impacts the brain and the entire body.
    I also agree with you that MR. Smith does not deserve the death threats or personal attacks that he has received. Mr Smith, however, is in a position of power in society where he can sway opinion. Mr. Smith’s job is using words…. While he, like all of us, are entitled to our opinions, those opinions should not be aired while televising. If the rest of us were to have insulted so many people in our jobs, we would be terminated for jeapordizing the company’s revenue stream or reputation. Think about it; the next time your in a public venue and an employee behaves poorly…. They are fired; especially if they are involved with any sort of customer service position.
    By the by, respect is earned…. You’ve done nothing to earn my respect……

  35. Susan Wheatley says:

    Sure, Smith apologized after public outcry, gotta save face, ratings, his job. He should’ve been able to censor his mouth at that very emotional time, having compassion and integrity, he should’ve never, ever, said such a thing. Apology not accepted. He knows nothing of what he speaks. I think FOX should fire him.

    • fran manning says:

      smith is not an objective journalist. He and fox news were just towing the party line. Conservatives can not see beyond their opinion that robin was just another hollywood liberal. These comments are equally as offensive as the basketball coach just removed from the nba. This puppet reporter should be removed. He is not making an objective news broadcast. Fox has never been truthful in the news any way. You would have to be an ignoramus to follow anything from this lobby group.

  36. Lora Zaborac says:

    Paula, you certainly have a right to voice your opinion but in regards to Mr. Williams and he is a newscaster and suppose to be impartial as a reporter. I also want to say if you (you meaning in general not personally) haven’t suffered from depression then I don’t think you can understand it what it is like to live through it.

  37. ifirefly says:

    Tina M. to Tom–You have hit the nail squarely, Tina, and our media are pawns to keep us sniffing in other directions so we don’t notice Edward Snowden was right. The truth has been covered up so many years, nobody is willing to tell it. Too many hiney’s would end up in the fire. The truth is, we haven’t needed petroleum for over sixty years, and keeping that little secret–which is more covered up than the Manhattan Project ever was–has over the years resulted in hundreds if not thousands killed. The media CAN’T report it. The few times something has slipped, they’ve pulled out some ridiculous cover stories. It’s a lot like the first Men In Black movie; the weekly gossip magazines have more truth than our networks.

    Interested in truth? Try YouTube. Watch the May 9, 2001 press conference held at the Press Club of Washington DC. The NSA blocked the first 45 minutes of its transmission, which is probably why you missed it. It is being allowed now so we will slowly acclimate ourselves to the possibilities. Why? Because Edward Snowden, Gary McKinnon, Capt. (retired as Lt. Col.) Darrell A. Clark and over 400 other whistleblowers, military and government witnesses have come forward with the news that we are not now, nor have we ever been alone in the universe. More witnesses sick of lying to the public and their own children are coming forward every day. They know it’s wrong to keep the world quite literally “in the dark” when we could have had free energy in the 1900’s.

    Check out the TR-3B which hundreds saw in Texas a few years ago. Yes, it’s one of ours. I’m told from reliable sources it was reverse-engineered from extraterrestrial technologies and can get to our moon in about six minutes. Fasten your seat belts. Mork may have been more real than any other character ever portrayed by Robin Williams. Wouldn’t that be somethin’?

  38. John P says:

    All the stylish ,high tech sets can’t obscure the fact that Shepherd is a preening,self important poseur. His 11th hour back handed “apology” is the embodiment of all that is considered “passive aggressive”.

  39. Joe Kondrath says:

    This guy must go as he is “too emotional” to handle the news. Do you remember his coverage of Katrina?

  40. Wendell Lee says:

    “What the Fox” Sam Sheppard, now that its come out that Robin Williams was in early stages of Parkinson’s disease I guess you really feel bad now?

    • Tina M. says:

      Wendell, you make a good point but the igmos name is David Shepard Smith; not Sam Shepard. His nickname is Shep.

  41. Tom says:

    Honestly, I would think Mr.Smith would be smarter than this to jump to such conjectures that soon. With the news of his diagnoses, this changes a lot. And even ignoring that fact, depression is a serious illness, that obviously Shepard Smith cares nothing about.

  42. David Bowser says:


  43. Nicole says:

    How do you “innocently” call someone a coward? *shrugs*

  44. Tina M. says:

    Rosita, you are correct; there have been many celebrities that have wound up in the poor house; however, most of them did NOT suffer from CLINCAL depression. And, according to Mrs. Williams, Robin was sober at the time of his suicide…. That eliminates your drug and alcohol comment. There are 2 different types of suicide…. The first is when someone wants to escape responsibility for their actions… Ie…. Ariel Castro. He and others like him were indeed cowards. Severe, clinical depression that results in suicide is a whole different issue and is in no way cowardly. Mr. Robins recent financial and health problems only compounded the illness. This has nothing to due with condoning Mr. Williams final action; it is shedding light on a horrible illness that affects so many, with awful consequences because people are afraid of stigmas or do not have the finances to seek the appropriate and necessary help. Please look at the whole picture before you form an opinion….. It’s not fair to you or others.

  45. Rosita Asano says:

    @Robert Morgan Shepard Smith is someone who is more well-known than you. LIBERAL.

    • Tina M. says:

      Why is this about political affiliation? I am not a liberal nor a democrat and I think SS should be terminated because if his highly offensive and insensitive comments! I agree with Robert; your misunderstanding, cannot see the irony and are grasping at straws to defend someone because you share similar political views and not the person. This string should not be about attacking Fox or their typical mentality; it should keep its focus on SS comments toward Mr. Williams, understanding severe, clinical depression, and grieving for the unfortunate loss.

    • Robert Morgan says:

      A pointless response with a totally irrelevant ending. Besides, SS is more well known than me for ALL the wrong reasons (I hope you understand irony?)! I’m more than happy to let him bask in his poisonous limelight.

  46. Martin Reinders says:

    Never judge a man until you have walked a mile in their shoes. .. Yet Fox news continues to employ the moral moron midgets of America….

  47. don’t worry no one watches Fox News anyway

  48. Robert Morgan says:

    Robin Williams. Shepard who? Enough said.

  49. moonshadow says:

    Does it make a difference if y’all know SS IS GAY ?

    • Tina M. says:

      Nope! Don’t care what his sexual orientation is or his political affiliation is or even who he works for…. This string is all about his offensive and ignorant comments made on air. It is also about grieving…. It is not meant to attack the mans personal life or Fox News, although I have not been a fan of Fox for a few years now. Mr. Smith does not deserve personal attacks; he needs to held accountable for his actions, nothing more. I have seen death threats hurled at him; that’s outlandish! Do we live in the Middle East? Should we cut off his tongue? NO!
      He should be held to the same level of accountability as anyone else in the workforce who had offended the company’s clients…. Termination

  50. CVH says:

    Smith is such a hack news reader , his sincerity is that of an over exuberant game show host . Coward? Suicide is not the act of coward , cowards don’t have that kind nerve or depth of understanding or feeling .

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