LOS ANGELES, USA – The daughter of Robin Williams quit social media Wednesday, upset by Internet trolls and the online pilfering of photos of her Oscar-winning dad following his death by apparent suicide.
“I will be leaving this account for a bit while I heal and decide if I’ll be deleting it or not,” Zelda Williams, 25, wrote on Instagram beneath a photo of a butterfly.
“In this difficult time, please try to be respectful of the accounts of myself, my family and my friends,” she asked.
Monday’s death of Williams – one of the finest comedy talents of his generation – at the age of 63 prompted a global outpouring of public grief on social media.
Tabloids ran wild with speculation that he might have been pushed to the edge by supposed money problems and the cancellation of his CBS sitcom The Crazy Ones after one season.
He had three films in post-production: Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb, Merry Friggin’ Christmas and Absolutely Anything directed by Monty Python alum Terry Jones.
In her Instagram post, Zelda Williams expressed frustration at the way family photos posted online had been used, and how Internet trolls had attacked her.
“Mining our accounts for photos of dad, or judging me on the number of them is cruel and unnecessary,” added the actress, who appeared with her father in the 2004 drama House of D.
On Twitter, Zelda Williams invited fans to make donations to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, a renowned pediatric medical center in Memphis, Tennessee that her father supported.
Dead at home
Williams – whose hit films included Good Will Hunting, Good Morning Vietnam and “Mrs. Doubtfire” – was found dead in his San Francisco area home on Monday by his personal assistant, hanging by a belt with superficial cuts to his wrist.
The father-of-three, who sometimes made light of his troubles with substance abuse and his stints in rehab, had been seeking treatment for severe depression.
“His life ended due to asphyxia due to hanging,” Marin County assistant coroner Lieutenant Keith Boyd told a press conference Tuesday as an investigation continues.
Funeral details have yet to be publicly announced.
In New York, The Broadway League said theaters along the Great White Way would darken their marquees Wednesday evening for one minute in Williams’ honor.
“Whether on screen or live on stage, his multi-faceted talent always created memorable performances,” said its executive director Charlotte St. Martin.
Show business trade journal Variety reported a surge in online sales of Williams’ rich body of work, with 12 of the 13 top-selling DVDs on Amazon.com featuring the comic genius.
Topping the list was Mrs. Doubtfire, followed by Good Will Hunting, Dead Poets Society, Good Morning, Vietnam, Patch Adams, The Birdcage and What Dreams May Come.
Apple’s iTunes downloading service also saw an uptick in sales of Williams’ work.
Williams’ death has stirred debate in the United States about depression and suicide, which claims more than 38,000 American lives every year – about one every 13.7 minutes.
Tweet sparks stir
But a tweet from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, which presented Williams with an Oscar for best supporting actor in Good Will Hunting, raised eyebrows.
“Genie, you’re free,” it said, over a picture of the genie – voiced by Williams – embracing Aladdin in the animated Disney adaptation of the enduring folk tale.
Many interpreted it as a suggestion that suicide is somehow an acceptable form of liberation from one’s demons – an idea that experts say can encourage others to take their own lives.
“Making statements like that (‘you’re free’) potentially increases the risk of suicide contagion,” Daniel Reidenberg of the SAVE suicide prevention organization told AFP.
“They are not appropriate or helpful.”
Unmoved, the Academy left its solemn farewell to Williams – retweeted 320,000 times and favorited 230,000 times – on its Twitter account Wednesday. – Rappler.com