William Shatner Responds To Criticism After Missing Leonard Nimoy’s Funeral

Shatner noted on Twitter that a prior charity commitment would keep him from attending Nimoy's memorial

Star Trek actor William Shatner has spoken out to defend himself against criticism after he revealed that he would be unable to attend the funeral of his co-star Leonard Nimoy, who passed away earlier this week following a lengthy battle with COPD.

Shatner revealed on Twitter that he would be unable to attend Nimoy’s funeral due to a prior commitment at a charity fundraiser. The 83-year-old actor noted to his followers that he would be in Florida and unable to make it back in time, according to the Daily Mail, while Nimoy’s family and close friends gathered to pay their respects on Sunday.

“I am currently in FL [Florida] as I agreed to appear at the Red Cross Ball tonight,” Shatner posted on Saturday. “Leonard’s funeral is tomorrow. I can’t make it back in time. I feel really awful. Here I am doing charity work and one of my dearest friends is being buried.”

Though some fans engaged with Shatner on Twitter to ask about his relationship with Nimoy, others lashed out at the Canadian actor for missing his colleague’s funeral. New York radio host Todd Schnitt asserted that Shatner should attend the Red Cross event and then take a private jet to L.A., while journalist Charlie White openly questioned Shatner’s assertion.

“You’d think the Red Cross folks would understand that emergencies change plans, no?” White stated.

The New York Daily News also featured Shatner on their front page, branding him “Captain Jerk” for missing Nimoy’s memorial. As CNN notes, Shatner posted an image of the paper on his Twitter feed, inviting his fans to discuss the accusation.

Fans flocked to Shatner’s defense, with many pointing out that his mourning was personal. Others noted that Shatner’s daughters, Melanie and Lisabeth, would be attending Nimoy’s memorial. Meanwhile, Shatner utilized Twitter to speak directly to his detractors.

“Walking out on a major fundraiser wouldn’t have you calling me a jerk for leaving a charity high & dry? Hmm?” he questioned.

Following Nimoy’s death on Friday morning, Shatner stated that he loved the actor “like a brother,” as the Inquisitr has previously reported. Engaging with fans, he recalled how close the two had become following their time together on Star Trek, asserting that they were seemingly destined to become friends.

[Photo by Ben A. Pruchnie/Getty Images]