On Thursday, extremist religious group Westboro Baptist Church capped off a barrage of hateful tweets directed at Robin Williams after his death with a threat to picket his funeral. The group is notorious for picketing the funerals of dead American soldiers from Iraq and Afghanistan with hateful messages such as “God Blew Up The Troops” and “Thank God For Dead Soldiers”. It revealed that it planned to do the same at the beloved actor’s funeral.
Westboro Baptist Church recently tweeted , “God hates Robin Williams. Westboro Baptist Church hopes to preach outside his funeral.” The group has accused the actor of "mocking God & promoting sin" and "pushing flagrant debauchery, and hedonism" throughout his long career as a comedian and dramatic performer.
NEW WEBPAGE: http://t.co/4ulKYdZtf1 Robin Williams should have used what God gave him to make friends with the righteous. Now it’s too late.
— GOD H8S The Media (@GodH8sTheMedia) August 15, 2014
Williams reportedly committed suicide on August 11 and died because of “asphyxia due to hanging,” according to authorities. While reports circulated that Williams’ wife, Susan Schneider was planning a small and intimate funeral in San Francisco for her husband that would be attended by family and friends, the Westboro Baptist Church expressed their intention to picket the event.
The hateful tweets from Westboro Baptist Church elicited different types of reactions from friends and fans of the late actor, including a rant from the Australian talk show host and comedian Adam Hills. “If you really believe in standing up to those threatening the Christian way of life, Westboro Baptist Church, how about putting your money where your mouth is, taking a direct flight to Iraq and picketing the people threatening to behead Christians if they don’t convert?” he said. He then offered to pay for every member of the Westboro Baptist Church to fly to Iraq to take up his challenge. The group responded to Hill’s message by tweeting, “Iraq here we come.”
— Westboro Baptist (@WBCSays) August 21, 2014
Other friends of Williams expressed support for him with messages of love. The non-profit group Planting Peace raised more than $50,000 as of August 19 for the benefit of St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, which was one of Williams’ favorite charities. “We felt like launching a fundraiser for a charity Robin loved would be the perfect way to honor him and counteract the message of hate and intolerance that the Westboro Baptist Church continues to convey,” said Aaron Jackson, co-founder of Planting Peace.
Meanwhile, astronaut Buzz Aldrin posted a message on his Facebook page sharing his personal struggle with depression, from which Williams had also suffered. “As individuals and as a nation we need to be compassionate and supportive of all who suffer and give them the resources to face life," he wrote.
The Mrs. Doubtfire actor’s memorial service was held on Tuesday in San Francisco, but members of the Westboro Baptist Church failed to follow through on their promise to picket it.