Robin Williams’ family wants private memorial, but Westboro protest possible

The memorial service for Robin Williams is expected to be a small, private affair. But that hasn’t stopped members of the Westboro Baptist Church from suggesting that they might picket the event.

Bay Area media organizations have said the actor’s family plans a intimate memorial for the actor. MTV reported there might also be a comedy benefit concert for charity sometime later in Marin County.

Westboro, a Kansas-based group know for hate-filled protests sometimes targeting gays and their supporters, has mentioned the idea of a protest on Twitter several times in recent days. But some who track the group note it often threatens protests that never materialize.

There has been an outpouring of support for Williams and his family since his death last week.


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

On Thursday, his wife, Susan Schneider, said in a statement that Williams’ sobriety was intact as “he struggled with his own battles of depression, anxiety as well as early stages of Parkinson’s disease, which he was not yet ready to share publicly.”

Astronaut Buzz Aldrin also posted in a message on his Facebook page Tuesday, sharing his personal struggle with depression and referring to Williams as “a friend and fellow sufferer.”

“The torment of depression and the complications of addiction that accompany it affect millions, including myself and family members before me — my grandfather committed suicide before I was born and my mother the year before I went to the moon — along with hundreds of veterans who come to a similar fate each year,” Aldrin wrote. “As individuals and as a nation we need to be compassionate and supportive of all who suffer and give them the resources to face life.”