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Henry Rollins Apologizes for His Comments on Suicide in Another Column

Bryan Bedder, Getty Images

Just days after penning an incendiary column for L.A. Weekly in which he criticized Robin Williams and everyone else who has ever turned to suicide, Henry Rollins has written another essay apologizing for what he said.

In a post published today (Aug. 25) by L.A. Weekly, Rollins said he was flooded with angry comments and criticism after writing last Thursday that those who take their own lives — especially those like Williams who had children — no longer matter to him and, in his eyes, never existed at all.

“I no longer take this person seriously,” he wrote last week. “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.”

In today’s response, the former Black Flag and Rollins Band frontman backpedaled for his comments and said he’s learning from the fall out. “I cannot defend the views I expressed,” he wrote. “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. However, that doesn’t mean that I can’t be taught a thing or two. I have no love for a fixed position on most things. I am always eager to learn something. I promise that I will dig in and educate myself on this and do my best to evolve.”

Rollins talks about his own battle with depression, but admits he believes he doesn’t suffer from it as much as many others. “What has perhaps kept me from seeing things differently about severe depression is that I am sure I don’t have it,” he said. “But the power of severe depression was brought up quite a bit in the letters I received. Your anger toward me on this, believe me, I got it.”

He also makes indirect references to Williams and puts forth a metaphor he hopes is more appropriate to his particular situation. “I have a picture in my mind,” he wrote. “There is a person — one with a family and a huge audience — who is on one side of a seesaw. The family and the audience are on the other side. This person’s condition makes him heavy enough to tilt all of them up in the air and send him to the ground. He didn’t want to go, but the condition outweighed all of them and even he couldn’t stop it. Is that, albeit crudely drawn, basically it?”

Primarily, however, Rollins used the column as a platform to thank his fans for sticking with him. “While I don’t take myself seriously, I take [my fans] with a frightening degree of seriousness,” he said. “They can take or leave me at any time; they have options. They are all I have and, beyond that, I feel I have a duty to serve them because they have made me better.”

But in closing, he said what’s done is done. “To those I offended, I believe you and I apologize,” he said. “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.”

Several musicians, including NOFX frontman Fat Mike, have taken to Twitter to express support for Rollins:

Today’s column is a follow-up to a shorter personal message Rollins posted on his website last Friday (Aug. 22).

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