Howard Stern Regrets His Tasteless Comments on Robin Williams, Admitted Their Controversial Moments Haunted Him For Years to Come

Howard Stern Regrets His Tasteless Comments on Robin Williams, Admitted Their Controversial Moments Haunted Him For Years to Come
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Although he has claimed to have mellowed out over the years, Howard Stern continues to enjoy widespread recognition for his controversial stature. He gained notoriety for being a shock jock, a radio broadcaster known for provocative and inflammatory commentary. While the legacy attached to the radio show host has cemented him as a legendary media personality, the tremors of his past statements and behavior can still be felt.

Howard Stern
Howard Stern

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And it’s not only the audience, pop culture fanatics, or the guests bearing the weight of Stern’s past behavior who are experiencing it. The broadcaster himself has come to regret many things. Many celebrities who came on his show during his time as a shock jock were subjected to crass remarks or improper conduct. However, the radio show host’s grandest source of guilt stemmed from the behavior he inflicted on one of the most revered comedians, Robin Williams.


Stern recounted his regrets in several interviews.

Howard Stern Explained The Reasoning Behind His Past Behavior

Howard Stern reflected on his past behavior...
Howard Stern reflected on his past behavior…

Stern’s cancer scare led him to reflect on his legacy and the interviews he has conducted over the years. While some assisted him in learning more about the guests’ work ethic, dedication, and commitment to their craft, others evolved into more outlandish, exaggerated theatrics that the media celebrity isn’t particularly proud of. Making an appearance on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon, Howard Stern expanded on Fallon’s statements, describing how his book titled Howard Stern Comes Again is about forgiveness and regrets.

He revealed why sometimes his shows would regress into over-the-top, exaggerated, and often involve offensive commentary and bits:


“It sure is [about forgiveness]. I’ve had regrets. Early on in my career, I was so crazy. I couldn’t allow anybody to shine in an interview. I felt the ratings pressure. I felt so much pressure.” 

Howard Stern on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon.
Howard Stern on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon.

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In a The New York Times interview, Stern had the following to share about his past that many have deemed problematic and objectionable:

“I am the poster boy for doing everything offensive. I’ve done insane things. But everything I did, I make no apologies for, because I was trying to entertain people. […] But, you know, it’s painful for me to look back on my career, because a lot of that stuff I said I don’t know how much I believed.”

Howard Stern disclosed the biggest regret in his career as he discussed the one time Robin Williams appeared on his radio show in the 1990s. The way the broadcaster treated the late comic haunts the former even today.


The Incident That Continues To Haunt Howard Stern

Howard Stern regrets his treatment of Robin Williams
Howard Stern regrets his treatment of Robin Williams.

In Stern’s interview with Rolling Stone, the media celebrity recalled his regrettable behavior during the late comic’s visit to his show. He further discussed the spine-chilling moment he realized it was too late for his apology to reach the Good Will Hunting star. To appease an audience that wanted to be “shocked and outraged,” Stern pulled out bizarre tricks to retain his listener base. In this one instance, though, he went a bit too far.

“I also have a regret about Robin Williams that haunts me. […] I love Robin Williams, and yet if he came into my studio, I had to act like I didn’t love him. I’d be, ‘F**k you.’ Rather than say to Robin Williams, ‘My God, you’re here,’ and celebrate an amazing talent and the beauty of that guy’s career, he walks in and I start in, ‘Hey, you’re f**king your nanny,'”

A part of him didn’t want the attention to be on anyone else. He couldn’t tolerate someone stealing his thunder. And that’s why Howard Stern would rely on a barrage of offensive remarks to shock the audiences.

Gone Too Soon: Robin Williams
Revered actor Robin Williams

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Stern admired Williams. “I want to tell him what he did for me when I was lonely and couldn’t find a friend,” stated the media personality in his interview. He liked the comedian’s work and pondered how the situation would have turned out if he had shown his admiration and spent time learning more about him. Instead, he steadfastly maintained his shock jock persona. “It brings me to tears to imagine what that moment could have been like.” affirmed the radio show host.

Stern finished by recounting how he was in the process of apologizing to Williams. Unfortunately, it was too late. The revered actor had committed suicide. It’s not surprising to witness Howard Stern feeling remorse over the incident.

It is, sadly, a predicament that the controversial media figure has to live with for the rest of his life.


Source: Rolling Stone, The New York Times Magazine, and The Tonight Show 


Written by Debdipta Bhattacharya

Articles Published: 659

Debdipta Bhattacharya is a content writer at FandomWire, where she has written more than 500 articles on various topics of interest. She possesses a sincere passion for popular culture, anime, film production, and the evolving world of YouTube and streaming culture which has allowed her to be a devoted and well-informed writer. Debdipta holds a bachelor's degree in Mass Communication. She has honed her skills and expertise in content writing with over two years of experience and strives to learn and grow daily.