Members of the controversial US Westboro Baptist Church have announced plans to picket the funeral of Hollywood icon Elizabeth Taylor.
Margie J Phelps, the daughter of Westboro founder Fred Phelps, used her Twitter account to make the announcement: “No RIP Elizabeth Taylor who spent her life in adultery and enabling proud fags. They cuss her in hell today. #Westboro will picket funeral!”
The vehemently anti-gay church, best known in the UK for featuring in documentaries by Louis Theroux and Keith Allen, is notorious for picketing the funerals of US soldiers and public figures whom they regard as ‘sinners’.
Jarrett Barrios, president of US gay rights group GLAAD told E! News: “Fred Phelps and his vitriolic anti-gay followers are simply trying to exploit their so-called ‘faith’ by spreading messages of hate at a time when Americans are grieving the loss of an extraordinary woman, actress and advocate.”
The announcement comes a fortnight before the screening of a new Louis Theroux documentary about the church and the Phelps family, in which it is revealed that its members have become increasingly hard-line since his last visited in 2006, now branding President Obama as the antichrist and excommunicating at least one close family member for perceived transgressions.
In the past Westboro Baptist Church has pledged to demonstrate at the funerals of Heath Ledger and Natasha Richardson, although neither picket was ultimately carried out.
A statement released by Elizabeth Taylor’s family says that a private funeral will be held later this week.