Following criticism, Henry Rollins is now recanting statements he made in a controversial L.A. Weekly column, titled “Fuck Suicide,” in which he said he lost respect for Robin Williams because the actor took his own life without the consideration of his children. “I cannot defend the views I expressed,” Rollins wrote in a recently published new column. “I think that would be taking an easy out. I put them out there plainly and must suffer the slings and arrows – fair enough. I won’t attempt to dodge them.”
The change of view was apparently inspired by the wave of invective directed at him. Rollins claims to have spent the last day reading it all – even when the message was “only two words, the second being ‘you.'” Much of the new column, accordingly, deals with his relationship with his fans.
“For decades I have talked to and gotten letters from people who tell me that something I did helped them, or saved them from killing themselves, helped them get clean, stay clean or come out,” Rollins wrote. “Never once do I really think that I had anything to do with anyone staying alive, but I get where they’re coming from. All of them are better than I am and it is them I serve.”
Elsewhere, he related his own experiences with depression and attempted to describe how the condition feels – “This state has made me have to do things in a certain way to remain operational…. I have likened it to being a peach in a can of syrup yet fully conscious” – before concluding with a message of regret and gratitude: “To those I offended, I believe you and I apologize. If what I wrote causes you to toss me out of your boat, it is to my great regret, but I understand and thank you for your thoughts.”
The singer’s main point in the original column was how disappointed he was in Williams for taking his own life without regard for his family. “How in the hell could you possibly do that to your children?” Rollins wrote at the time. “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.”
Over the weekend, however, he began to retract his statements, calling the negative feedback “off the scale and in my opinion, well placed,” and now, he has penned an apologetic follow-up titled “More Thoughts on Suicide.”