Hoaxes & Rumors

Were Empire State Bldg Rainbow Lights Related to Westboro Founder’s Death?

Were Empire State Bldg Rainbow Lights Related to Westboro Founder’s Death?

Did the Empire State Building light up with rainbow colors in response to the death of Westboro Baptist Church founder Fred Phelps?

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The claim is false.

Phelps, who died in March 2014 at the age of 84, was known to protest against gays, and even at the funerals of fallen soldiers.

The National Gay  and Lesbian Task Force released a statement which read, “Fred Phelps will not be missed by the LGBT community, people with HIV/AIDS and the millions of decent people across the world who found what he and his followers do deeply hurtful and offensive.”

Internet readers were quick to associate news of Phelps’ death with photos displaying the Empire State Building which was lit up in the colors of the rainbow. It was suggested that this was a final protest against Phelps in a sign of support for the gay community.

Yahoo UK pointed out, however, that the Empire State Building’s lighting calendar had the date set aside for the filming of a television advertisement.

Bottom Line

The Empire State Building did display rainbow colors because of the death of Fred Phelps. The lighting was for a television ad, and unrelated to news of Phelps’ passing.

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