US hardcore band donated profits from Fred Phelps t-shirt to Human Rights Campaign
US hardcore band Touché Amoré have defended their decision to sell t-shirts celebrating the death of the Westboro Baptist Church leader Fred Phelps
Phelps was the leader of the controversial religious group who are infamous for picketing the funerals of US military members and local pop and rock concerts and their use of the homophobic phrase “God hates fags.” He passed away last week (March 19) aged 85.
Touché Amoré celebrated the death by selling T-shirts with Phelps’ face and the phrase “Good Riddance” on them. Proceeds from the sales of the shirts went to Human Rights Campaign with all of the shirts selling out almost immediately. The LA band first used the imagery in 2008 as a companion for their ‘wehatefredphelps.com’ demo.
Posting on the band’s Facebook page, frontman Jeremy Bolm explained the motivation behind the merchadise: “Here we are years later, and the man has died. We got messages saying we should reprint the design, so we thought, ‘We’ll do an updated version and have the proceeds go to benefit what the man lived the last years of his life trying to dismantle.’ We feel there is beautiful irony in selling an image of a bigot and using the profit towards achieving equality for exactly what they hated.”
Bolm continues: “Is it in poor taste? Depends on your taste buds. Poor taste to me is creating an evil cult to protest funerals, discriminate love, and whose website is godhatesfags.com if you wanna just slightly scratch the surface.”
Phelps founded the Westboro Baptist Church in 1955 and was reportedly excommunicated in 2012 after advocating a softer line on the subjects the church protested against. A blog post by members of the church vowing to continue with their controversial work followed news of Phelps’ death.