Robin Williams death: Online bullies spark outrage, Twitter pledge

Zelda Williams and Robin Williams backstage during the People's Choice Awards at the Shrine Auditorium on Jan. 9, 2007, in Los Angeles.
(Michael Buckner / Getty Images)

Thousands on social media have expressed outrage and offered support to the daughter of the late actor Robin Williams after she announced this week that she was quitting social media after receiving “cruel and unnecessary” comments on her public profiles.

Much of the outrage has been directed at two Twitter users who posted fake photographs of the actor’s body with bruises around his neck on Zelda Williams’ Twitter and Instagram accounts. Some even blamed her for his death.

In a statement carried by the Washington Post on Thursday, Twitter’s vice president of trust and safety vowed to “improve our policies” for handling terms of use violations.

Williams was found dead by his personal assistant Monday inside his Tiburon home. Authorities said it appeared the cause of death was “asphyxia due to hanging,” although toxicology reports for a final report will take weeks.


The so-called “troll” comments posted to Zelda Williams’ social media accounts in the days after her father’s death prompted calls to permanently remove the users from Twitter, whose accounts have since been suspended.

Twitter user Ximena Hartsock offered her support, saying: "@zeldawilliams you are being so strong. You have millions of people with you. We are here to support you:)! We got your back!.”

Krissy Rubin, who goes by the Twitter handle @thatSLAYERchick, wrote: "@zeldawilliams I am so sorry some evil people on the internet make it their life goal to hurt others. No child deserves to see that.”

Zelda Williams said in a message she posted on Instagram that she would reevaluate at a later time whether to return to social media.

“I will be leaving this account for a bit while I heal and decide if I’ll be deleting it or not,” she wrote in her Instagram message. “In this difficult time, please try to be respectful of ... myself, my family and my friends.”

The messages came just hours after she posted a tribute on her Tumblr to her father, who she described as “one of the kindest, most generous, gentlest souls.”

For breaking news in Los Angeles and throughout California, follow @VeronicaRochaLA. She can be reached at