MNGOP deputy chair Chris Fields criticized for tasteless tweets about Robin Williams's death
This is the last known photo of Williams, taken at a Minnesota Dairy Queen early last month.
:::: UPDATES :::: Fields has deleted most of his offensive tweets, but we've got the screengrabs. Click to page three of this post to see them. We've also included reaction from the gubernatorial candidate Fields was attempting to support, Jeff Johnson, and an apology from Fields himself at the bottom of page two.
About six weeks after the last known photo of Robin Williams was snapped at the Dairy Queen in Lindstrom during his visit to the nearby Hazelden Addiction Treatment Center, the world-famous comedian reportedly took his own life yesterday in California at the age of 63.
Williams's spokesperson told CNN he'd been battling severe depression lately.
MNGOP Secretary Chris Fields: "Nothing offensive" about Chisago GOP's slavery post
As you'd imagine given how beloved Williams is throughout the world, news of his death elicited many tweets expressing sadness, while others expressed appreciation for Williams's comedic and dramatic genius. One of the latter type came from DFL digital media director Ellen Anderson.
My cat's nickname is Nanu Nanu. The world is lucky Robin Williams was able to share his genius with so many.-- Ellen C. Anderson (@ellencanderson) August 11, 2014
You wouldn't think that tweet could possibly spark controversy, but MNGOP Deputy Chairman Chris Fields -- a man known for regularly trolling liberals on Twitter -- somehow saw an opportunity to score political points for his party's endorsed gubernatorial candidate on the eve of today's primary election :
That tweet quickly elicited criticism from both sides of the aisle, including this one from a former MNGOP communications staffer:
@chrisfieldsmn Shut. The fuck. Up.-- Kevin Watterson (@kwatt) August 12, 2014
And these from Rep. Carly Melin (D-Hibbing):
But Fields, instead of deleting his offending tweet and/or apologizing, doubled down.
(For more, click to page two.)
Even after his initial tweet was widely decried, Fields stayed on the offensive:
.@kwatt done playing nice with shallow ppl. Real ppl are hurt every day by them. Let's be more concerned abt real ppl, and watch ur mouth.-- chris fields (@ChrisFieldsMN) August 12, 2014
.@chrisfieldsmn Not as bad as turning a man's death into a shill for votes. I have to explain this to you?-- Kevin Watterson (@kwatt) August 12, 2014
It's curious to me why ppl mourn the loss of celebrities but ignore the misery everyday ppl live with as policies crush hope and opportunity-- chris fields (@ChrisFieldsMN) August 12, 2014
@mbrodkorb The Dr who contracted Ebola while trying to help poor children suffered a tragedy. This ain't that.-- chris fields (@ChrisFieldsMN) August 12, 2014
.@mbrodkorb Perspective is needed not political correctness which incidentally has caused more harm than any tweet of mine.-- chris fields (@ChrisFieldsMN) August 12, 2014
.@AndrewLeeTCNT Interesting if I lived in a world or country where I didn't feel free to speak my mind I might get depressed and then what?-- chris fields (@ChrisFieldsMN) August 12, 2014
As is typically the case when someone gets flack for saying something dumb on social media, Fields's attempt to dig himself out of his hole only made it deeper, even among conservatives who you'd think might help one of the Minnesota Republican Party's leaders dig out:
I've never seen an election won on Twitter but I have seen many lost on the platform that gave planet earth a world wide high-school.-- Andy Parrish (@andyparrish) August 12, 2014
On Tuesday afternoon, the MNGOP-endorsed gubernatorial candidate Fields was attempting to support with his initial tweet, Jeff Johnson, offered up this condemnation:
The Tweets last night mixing Robin Williams' death w/politics were inappropriate & wrong. America will dearly miss him-- Johnson for Governor (@Jeff4Gov) August 12, 2014
Also this afternoon, Fields himself issued an apology after deleting most of his offensive tweets. Here is is:
Click to page three to see screengrabs of Fields's since-deleted tweets.
Get the This Week's Top Stories Newsletter
Every week we collect the latest news, music and arts stories — along with film and food reviews and the best things to do this week — so that you’ll never miss City Pages' biggest stories.