Henry Rollins apologizes for dismissive anti-suicide essay



Punk rock icon and LA Weekly columnist Henry Rollins has apologized for an essay he published last week, entitled “F*** Suicide,” in which he questioned the priorities of parents who commit suicide and said “When someone negates their existence, they cancel themselves out in my mind.”

The column was inspired in part by Robin Williams’ suicide, and the outpouring of grief, support, and confusion it spawned. “[Its coverage] went from a sad death of a famous person to ‘a nation mourns’ pitch,” Rollins wrote, “which I didn’t quite understand. Sites such as Huffington Post swim in their own brand of hyperbole. They call it news and culture, but often, it’s just content.”

Of suicide victims, Rollins also wrote,


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.


Given his strong stance and Williams’ very recent and very unexpected suicide, it’s perhaps unsurprising that the feedback Rollins received was largely negative and heavily inflammatory.

Now Rollins has taken that feedback to heart, and penned an apology with his usual thoughtfulness. You can read it in its entirety on his Facebook page; below is a lengthy excerpt:


The article I wrote in the LA Weekly about suicide caused a lot of hurt. This is perhaps one of the bigger understatements of all time. I read all the letters. Some of them were very long and the disappointment, resentment and ringing clarity was jarring.

That I hurt anyone by what I said, and I did hurt many, disgusts me. It was not at all my intent but it most certainly was the result.

I have had a life of depression. Some days are excruciating. Knowing what I know and having been through what I have, I should have known better but I obviously did not. I get so mad when I hear that someone has died this way. Not mad at them, mad at whatever got them there and that no one magically appeared to somehow save them.

I am not asking for a break from the caning, take me to the woodshed as much as you see fit. If what I said has caused you to be done with me, I get it.

I wrote something for the LA Weekly that they will post on Monday.

I wanted to get this out at this moment.

I am deeply sorry. Down to my marrow. I can’t think that means anything to you, but I am. Completely sorry. It is not of my interest to hurt anyone but I know I did. Thank you for reading this. Henry


Rollins is well-known for being as articulate as he is strongly opinionated. If nothing else, his initial column and the response it generated should contribute to the national conversation on depression and suicide that so many have called for in the wake of Williams’ death.

website statistics