Photos and video from the Robin Williams death scene have caused controversy as news outlets ignore the family’s calls for privacy in the wake of the comedian’s suicide.
Williams was found dead early on Monday at his home in Tiburon, California. Authorities in the area said that the death was caused by asphyxiation, noting that it was likely a suicide.
In the wake of the Robin Williams suicide his family asked for some distance to deal with the tragedy.
“He has been battling severe depression of late,” his media representative Mara Buxbaum told CNN. “This is a tragic and sudden loss. The family respectfully asks for their privacy as they grieve during this very difficult time.”
But news outlets instead rushed for photos and video from the Robin Williams suicide, with ABC News even sending a news helicopter to offer live shots about his estate. This move drew heavy criticism online, with users taking to Twitter to call the network “parasites” and “cold hearted.”
— Maddox (@maddoxrules) August 12, 2014
While ABC and other outlets were taking heat for publishing photos and video from the Robin Williams suicide, the rest of the country was mourning his passing. Even president Obama released a statement remembering Williams.
“Robin Williams was an airman, a doctor, a genie, a nanny, a president, a professor, a bangarang Peter Pan, and everything in between,” Obama said. “But he was one of a kind. He arrived in our lives as an alien — but he ended up touching every element of the human spirit. He made us laugh. He made us cry. He gave his immeasurable talent freely and generously to those who needed it most — from our troops stationed abroad to the marginalized on our own streets.”
Yet even with all the criticism, some sites were still advertising Robin Williams death scene photos and video. The site Heavy.com posted a story of shots of the exterior of Williams’ home.