In The New Yorker's fascinating exploration of Megan Phelps-Roper's decision to leave the Westboro Baptist Church, the granddaughter of church founder Fred Phelps reveals that her disenchantment with her family's beliefs sprung from their reaction to the death of Brittany Murphy in 2009. As Phelps-Roper tells reporter Adrian Chen, she learned of Murphy's death on Twitter, where she was active in spreading the church's antigay message. Her fellow churchgoers were delighted by the news: "Lots of people were talking about going to picket her funeral," she recalled. But she couldn't muster the same glee. She tells Chen she "had loved Murphy in Clueless, and she felt an unexpected pang — not quite sadness, but something close — over her death." Seeing all the mournful tweets about Murphy made Phelps-Roper stop and reconsider the Church's message of hate — "I felt like I would be such a jackass to go on and post something [celebrating her death]" — the first in a long line of ambivalent experiences that ultimately ended with her renouncing Westboro altogether. "I just couldn't keep up the charade," she says. "I couldn't bring myself to do the things we were doing and say the things we were saying."
Most Watched on Vulture
Most Viewed Stories
How The Last Jedi Handles Carrie Fisher’s Death
Let’s Talk About the Ending of Star Wars: The Last Jedi
Frankly, Harrison Ford Was ‘F-cking’ Upset That Mark Hamill Didn’t Share Star Wars Spoilers
11,000 People Have Demanded the Met Remove This Painting. They Aren’t Going To. Nor Should They.
The 10 Horniest Things in Star Wars: The Last Jedi
Matt Damon Receives the Eloquent Wrath of Alyssa Milano Over His Sexual-Misconduct Opinions
Matt Damon Is Sharing All His Bad Opinions on Sexual Misconduct: ‘Well, We Can Work With That’
The Crown: Who Is the Real Antony Armstrong-Jones, a.k.a Lord Snowdon?
Ed Sheeran to the James Bond Franchise: Please! Use This Theme Song I Wrote!
Every Star Wars Movie, Ranked
Latest News from VultureFrankly, Harrison Ford Was ‘F-cking’ Upset That Mark Hamill Didn’t Share Star Wars Spoilers
“Oh my gosh, Dad Vader!”Ed Sheeran to the James Bond Franchise: Please! Use This Theme Song I Wrote!
He’s had the song on tap for three (!) years.Matt Damon Receives the Eloquent Wrath of Alyssa Milano Over His Sexual-Misconduct Opinions
“We are not outraged because someone grabbed our asses in a picture. We are outraged because we were made to feel this was normal.”Maria Menounos Said Bullying in the TV Industry Made Her Health Worse
“I’m sure you guys have not been immune to those tough times.”Bad Santa Director Says Harvey Weinstein Kept Rejecting Mira Sorvino’s Casting
The film’s director is now apologizing to Sorvino for how he handled the casting.Mario Batali’s Apology for Sexual Harassment Contains a Literal Recipe for Disaster
His apology email includes a cinnamon-roll recipe.The Last Jedi’s Best Creatures Are the Judgmental Fish-Nuns
Sorry, porgs.Wow, Who Could’ve Guessed Stephen Colbert’s Hannibal Lecter and Donald Trump Were Cannibal Golfing Buddies
Slurp, slurp, slurp.How The Last Jedi Handles Carrie Fisher’s Death
One scene in particular plays very differently after the actress’s passing.Did You Catch the Brazil Reference in Star Wars: The Last Jedi?
Bureaucracy calls, even in a galaxy far, far away.
The entertainment industry’s Commission on Sexual Harassment and Advancing Equality in the Workplace will be led by Anita Hill.Nelly Wants to Take Legal Action Against His Accuser After Rape Case Was Dropped
Nelly plans to take legal action against his accuser in an effort to restore his reputation.Morgan Spurlock’s Supersize Me 2 Pulled From YouTube Red and Sundance Film Festival
The fallout came after the documentary filmmaker wrote a lengthy letter on social media detailing his personal history with sexual misconduct.Netflix Is Eyeing George Clooney–Produced Watergate Series
Oscar-nominated Bridge of Spies scribe Matt Charman is writing the eight-episode mini-series.Pete Davidson Wanted to Give Hillary Clinton a Christmas Gift, So He Got a Tattoo of Her
And the former secretary of State approves of his decision.Wormwood Recap: An Amazing Stroke of Luck
Errol Morris is giving us a lot of tantalizing ideas to chew on.Chance the Rapper Saves the Holidays, Recruits Common and Lena Waithe to Join His Christmas Mixtape
Swoon.Let’s Talk About the Ending of Star Wars: The Last Jedi
The spoilers are strong with this post.Does Spielberg’s The Post Take a Dig at News Outlets Pivoting to Video?
Does Steven have something against autoplay videos?Grab Your Limes, the First Teaser for PBS’s Little Women Mini-Series Is Here
The Masterpiece event arrives in May.