Outspoken broadcaster Alan Brazil has sparked a huge backlash after making insensitive comments about suicide following the death of comedian and actor Robin Williams.
Brazil is presenter of Talksport's flagship Breakfast Show but is now facing calls to be sacked after he reacted to the death of the Hollywood star by declaring that he had little sympathy for the late actor.
Williams, who was found hanged at his home on Monday, was a much cherished actor and comic with Brazil immediately slammed for his insensitive response.
Speaking on his Breakfast Show, Brazil said he thought pop singer Robbie Williams had died instead when his wife informed him of the actor's passing and went on to express his relief.
"And then when she said, ‘Robin’, I thought, ‘Oh, OK’. It didn’t hit me hard like it would if it had been Robbie. Thank God it wasn’t."
Co-presenter Brian Moore attempted to say that suicide was never “an easy matter”, but Brazil went on to say, "I believe he’s got a daughter as well – what’s she feeling like this morning?
"Now she’s got to sort the arrangements out. I think it’s just shocking, I really do. I don’t have a lot of sympathy, I’m sorry.
"What you leave behind is diabolical. I’m really annoyed about that."
The backlash was swift and fierce from the general public on social media, in particular.
@talkSPORT Really no surprise that Alan Brazil is still employed by you, you have absolutely no morals and are an absolute disgrace.
— Gary Barlow (@GazBazUK) August 13, 2014
Alan Brazil's comments on Robin Williams, suicide & depression on the radio were so unquestionably stupid, offensive, rude and inappropriate — Tom Fletcher (@tommcfly) August 12, 2014
Can't believe what I'm reading on twitter about Alan Brazil's comments on Robin Williams, so heartless and disrespectful. @StanCollymore !!
— Stuart MacFarlane (@Stuart_PhotoAFC) August 12, 2014
Alan Brazil [on Mike Yardy's depression in 2011]: “I’m old school. I’m not arguing with him but sometimes in life you roll your sleeves up." — Nooruddean (@BeardedGenius) August 12, 2014
The Talksport presenter went on to engage in a furious Twitter feud with colleague and fellow former footballer Stan Collymore on Twitter as a result of accusing Williams of selfishness.
Collymore has long battled depression and previously considered suicide. He began by retweeting other users' angry responses to Brazil's comments which branded the presenter "shameful" and "out of order".
Brazil followed that by hitting back with a sarcastic reply to Collymore, posting: "Well done @StanCollymore for retweeting comments about me. I stand by what I said today.
"The sympathy I do have is for RW’s family & friends. @StanCollymore has his opinion and I’m entitled to mine."
Collymore, who has famously discussed depression on his Talksport show Kick Off, hit back at Brazil by saying, "You’re not a doctor @alanbrazil so your opinion on mental health issues counts for nothing to be fair.
"On Kick Off @alanbrazil we’ve had mental health experts, survivors, people who struggle daily, Ralf Ragnick and more. Try listening.
"An opinion on a factual illness isn’t an opinion. It’s called ignorance.
"Well done @brianmoore666 for speaking with erudition today on @talkSPORT, with sensitivity, respect and empathy. Not blind ignorance."
A barrage of angry responses from listeners to Brazil's comments and subsequent tweets forced the radio station to issue a statement distancing itself from the presenter's views.
“Talksport would like to apologise for any offence caused. Alan’s comments do not reflect the views of the station," the statement read.
Brazil was accused in May of making sexist remarks about female sports journalists. This latest controversy is likely to make his position as head presenter on Talksport's top morning show even more fragile.
- Arts & Entertainment
- Robin Williams
- Alan Brazil
- Robbie Williams