Los Angeles - The daughter of Robin Williams quit social media on Wednesday, upset by Internet trolls and the online pilfering of photos of her Oscar-winning dad following his death by suicide.
“I will be leaving this account for a bit while I heal and decide if I'll be deleting it or not,” Zelda Williams, 25, wrote on Instagram beneath a photo of a butterfly. In this difficult time, please try to be respectful of the accounts of myself, my family and my friends,” she urged.
The Daily Mail reports that Zelda Williams was sent a fake picture of her father's dead body hours after she wrote a touching tribute to her father, who was found hanged on Monday. Underneath the picture were the words: "‘Look at what he f****** did to himself because of you, you f****** heartless bitch."
A second troll sent her a message saying the actor hung himself because he was ‘ashamed of her’. The post added: ‘It’s all your fault.’
A devastated Zelda urged friends and supporters to report the trolls, who published their abuse under the pseudonyms @PimpStory and @MrGoosebuster.
The actress said she was unable to report them herself because it would mean looking at the messages again. She wrote: ‘"Please report [them]. I’m shaking. I can’t. Please. Twitter requires a link and I won’t open it. Don’t either. Please."
Later Zelda apologised for her response, saying she ‘should’ve risen above’ the abuse.
She added: "‘[I’m] deleting [Twitter] from my devices for a good long time, maybe forever. Time will tell. Goodbye."
Initial reports suggested that the trolls had digitally altered a real picture of the Mrs Doubtfire star. Showbusiness website TMZ later reported that the image was of a close likeness taken from a Spanish language website.
Twitter suspended the trolls’ accounts, but last night refused to say where they were from or if they had been reported to the police ‘for privacy and security reasons’.
Monday's death of Williams - one of the finest comedy talents of his generation - at the age of 63 prompted an global outpouring of public grief on social media.
But his grieving daughter expressed frustration at the way family photos she had posted online had been used, and how the Internet trolls had attacked her.
“Mining our accounts for photos of dad, or judging me on the number of them is cruel and unnecessary,” added the actress, who appeared with her father in the 2004 drama “House of D.”
On Twitter, Zelda invited fans to make donations to St. Jude Children's Research Hospital, a renowned paediatric medical centre in Memphis, Tennessee that her father supported.
Williams - whose films included “Good Will Hunting,” “Good Morning Vietnam” and “Mrs. Doubtfire” - was found dead in his San Francisco-area home on Monday by his personal assistant, hanging by a belt with superficial cuts to his wrist.
The father of three, who sometimes made light of his troubles with substance abuse and his stints in rehab, had been seeking treatment for severe depression.
“His life ended due to asphyxia due to hanging,” Marin County assistant coroner Lieutenant Keith Boyd told a press conference Tuesday as an investigation continues.
In New York, the Broadway League said theatres along the Great White Way would darken their marquees on Wednesday evening for one minute in Williams' honour.
“Whether on screen or live on stage, his multi-faceted talent always created memorable performances,” said executive director Charlotte St. Martin in a statement.
Show business trade journal Variety meanwhile reported a surge in online sales of Williams' rich body of work, with 12 of the 13 top-selling DVDs on Amazon.com featuring the comic genius.
Topping the list was “Mrs. Doubtfire,” followed by “Good Will Hunting,” “Dead Poets Society,” “Good Morning, Vietnam,” “Patch Adams,” “The Birdcage” and “What Dreams May Come.”
Apple's iTunes downloading service also saw an uptick in sales, although not as strong as on Amazon, the world's biggest Internet retailer. - Sapa-AFP