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13 August 2014updated 28 Jun 2021 4:44am

Robin Williams’s daughter Zelda leaves social media after abuse

Yet again, a prominent woman is driven from Twitter because she dares to exist.

By Ian Steadman

Congratulations are in order to the scumbags of the world, who can claim to have driven another woman into deleting her Twitter account.

Zelda Williams, the 25-year-old daughter of Robin Williams, has had to deal with the death of her father both in private and in public. Her immediate statement after the news of Robin’s death on Monday was to post a beautiful quote by Little Prince author Antoine de Saint-Exupéry:

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She also posted what she called “her only statement” on her Tumblr account. She managed to even include a joke about people being unkind about her family’s loss:

As for those who are sending negativity, know that some small, giggling part of him is sending a flock of pigeons to your house to poop on your car. Right after you’ve had it washed. After all, he loved to laugh too.”

After this post, a small group of Twitter users began sending her “photoshopped photos of Robin, supposedly after his death”. The accounts responsible have been deleted, but the people behind them are believed to be behind new accounts, where they’re bragging about their actions. They’re probably reading news stories like this one, and cackling about how they’ve managed to upset a grieving woman. If you are actually reading this specific piece: fuck you.

Zelda has now tweeted that she is “deleting [Twitter] from my devices for a good long time, maybe forever” – but not before she also had to also post another statement, this time on Instagram, asking that everyone respect her family’s right to privacy. “Mining our accounts for photos of dad, or judging me on the number of them is cruel and unnecessary”, she writes. “The real private moments I shared with him were precious, quiet, and believe it or not, not full of photos or ‘selfies’.”

Her accounts are still active, even if she’s deleted the apps on her phone, and anyone who wants to spend the time rubbernecking through those photographs can do – there’s nothing to stop it. But just because something can be done doesn’t mean that something should be done, and just as it would be possible to gawp through the open window of the home of a family in mourning, it’s insensitive and heartless to treat someone’s presence on social media as carte blanche for republishing personal mementos of a lost loved one.

Robin Williams was a huge fan of computer games, and named his daughter after the princess in Nintendo’s Legend of Zelda series. If you want a public artefact of their relationship, then the ad campaign they appeared in together a few years ago should be more than enough of an insight into it than anyone not personally involved should ever need. If you feel you need more – that you’re owed more – then examine your own motives, instead of examining someone else’s grief.