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Fox News host Shepard Smith has apologised for calling Robin Williams a "coward" following the actor’s death by suicide.
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Rachael Jones reports from Hollywood Boulevard where Robin Williams fans were hoping to pay their respects at his star on the Walk of Fame.
It was the second blunder by the American cable news network after another anchor used incorrect footage of what was meant to be Williams in one of his most famous roles as Mrs Doubtfire.
Smith made the comment on Monday night during coverage of the Academy Award-winning actor-comedian’s death. He was speaking about how Williams’ death might affect his three adult children.
"It's hard to imagine, isn't it? You could love three little things so much, watch them grow, they’re in their mid-20s, and they’re inspiring you, and exciting you, and they fill you up with the kind of joy you could never have known," Shepard said.
"And yet, something inside you is so horrible or you’re such a coward or whatever the reason that you decide that you have to end it. Robin Williams, at 63, did that today."
Critics took to social media to lambast the host.
More quality from Fox News, Shepard Smith calling Robin Williams a "coward" for his suicide, then onto the drugs! https://t.co/QRbyGasB4m— Toby Forage (@foraggio) August 12, 2014
Shep Smith, who cowers in the closet to keep his job at Fox News, dares to use the word "coward" when eulogizing Robin Williams. Shameful!— Armistead Maupin (@ArmisteadMaupin) August 12, 2014
Fox News host sorry for 'coward' comment
US broadcaster has a couple of on-air hiccups during its coverage of Robin Williams' death, including a host commenting the actor perhaps ended it because he was "such a coward".
Can't believe Fox News has the audacity to mention suicide as "cowardly" during a special on Robin Williams. Disgusting.— Kathryn (@Kathryn_Buckk) August 12, 2014
Now Shepard has apologised. In a statement online he said: "To the core of my being, I regret it. It just came out of my mouth. And I'm so sorry. And to anyone and their families who see that, I am sorry."
Fox News had no immediate comment. Shepard was due on air later on Tuesday.
And in the rush to bring the most comprehensive coverage of Robin Williams' death to viewers, Fox made the embarrassing video blunder seen below.
As anchor Greta Van Susteren talked to former CNN host Larry King about his relationship with the great American comedian, an overlay of Williams' past roles was played in the background.
Among them the dance from WIlliams' 1993 film Mrs Doubtfire.
Viewers well versed in Williams' roles were quick to point out that the footage was of anyone but the comedian.
The Mrs Doubtfire fan footage was easily found on YouTube through searching "Mrs Doubtfire Dance".
It is captioned "2009 Halloween Costume and dance to Dude looks like a lady."
In the original video the unidentified man is dancing to Aerosmith.
In Hollywood, fans of Williams were frustrated at not being able to get access to the comedian's star on Hollywood Boulevard because the premiere of the third installment of The Expendables had blocked off the section in which Williams' star is set.
"Its a sad day for everyone here in the United States for the loss of Robin Williams," said fan Rusty Plunket. "We were hoping to get to see it [his star]."
Fans left tributes to Williams when the premiere event was over.
Support is available for those who may be distressed by phoning Lifeline 13 11 14; Mensline 1300 789 978; Kids Helpline 1800 551 800.
- with AP/AAP