Henry Rollins has ignited an internet firestorm on his head after he slammed Robin Williams for committing suicide.
The former Black Flag frontman, in a piece for LA Weekly published on Thursday, berated Williams for not considering that he had a family before deciding to kill himself.
Rollins also said that even though he appreciates Williams’ talents, his philanthropic activities and the fact that ‘he is a good man’, ‘it’s here where I step off the train.’
‘I am sure some will strongly disagree with what I’m about to say,’ the media personality admits. ‘And I also understand that his personal struggles were quite real. I can’t argue with that. But I simply cannot understand how any parent could kill themselves.’
How in the hell could you possibly do that to your children? I don’t care how well adjusted your kid might be — choosing to kill yourself, rather than to be there for that child, is every shade of awful, traumatic and confusing. I think as soon as you have children, you waive your right to take your own life. No matter what mistakes you make in life, it should be your utmost goal not to traumatize your kids. So, you don’t kill yourself.
‘I know some people will disagree,’ he admits again. ‘And I get that you can’t understand anyone else’s torment. All that “I feel your pain” stuff is bullshit and disrespectful. You can appreciate it, listen and support someone as best you can, but you can’t understand it.’
He says of depression, ‘Depression is so personal and so unique to each of us that when you’re in its teeth, you think you invented it. You can understand your own, but that’s it. When you are severely depressed, it can be more isolating than anything else you have ever experienced. In trying to make someone understand, you can only speak in approximation. You are truly on your own.’
But despite these admissions, it still doesn’t change the fact that he despises those who take their own lives.
When someone negates their existence, they cancel themselves out in my mind. I have many records, books and films featuring people who have taken their own lives, and I regard them all with a bit of disdain. When someone commits this act, he or she is out of my analog world. I know they existed, yet they have nullified their existence because they willfully removed themselves from life. They were real but now they are not.
I no longer take this person seriously. I may be able to appreciate what he or she did artistically but it’s impossible to feel bad for them. Their life wasn’t cut short — it was purposely abandoned. It’s hard to feel bad when the person did what they wanted to. It sucks they are gone, of course, but it’s the decision they made. I have to respect it and move on.
‘Almost 40,000 people a year kill themselves in America, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. In my opinion, that is 40,000 people who blew it,’ he says. ‘F**k suicide.’
Rollins’ article was greeted with huge criticism both on the comments section of the article and elsewhere, with many people berating him for being so harsh on depressed people who took their lives.
@henryrollins I’ve lost respect for you,’ tweeted one user. ‘You were like a father to me, but after your comments on depression which I struggle with I can’t…’
‘F**K YOU for running your mouth and clearly having ZERO understanding of depression & suicide,’ screamed another angry Twitter user.
Movie producer Judd Apatow also tweeted, ‘Henry Rollins moronic comments about Robin Williams reveal why most people don’t connect with his work. He’s a fool and a blowhard.’
What do you think of Rollins’ stance on suicide?