Wills, Trusts & Estates Prof Blog

Editor: Gerry W. Beyer
Texas Tech Univ. School of Law

Wednesday, January 23, 2019

Kentucky Newspaper Apologizes After Refusing to Run Obit Blaming Trump For Woman's Death

IreneFrances Irene Finley Williams of Kentucky was described as a fiery and opinioned woman, who had strong negative opinions about the current President and his administration. A few months before her death on November 21, 2018, she told members of her family that "If I die soon, all this Trump stuff has had an effect."

Williams' daughter, Cathy Duff, wrote the obituary for her mother, citing her love for babies, Elvis Presley, and of course dancing. Duff also mentioned Williams' affection for horse racing and the University of Louisville. The last line of the obituary, in accordance with her mother's high-spirited views, read "Her passing was hastened by her continued frustration with the Trump Administration." The obituary and a check for $1,684 was submitted to the Louisville Courier Journal to run it.

However, the paper rejected the obituary for its "negative" line about Trump, giving rise to Williams' son Art to post on Facebook about the predicament. The family decided they did not want to postpone the funeral and removed the last line so the newspaper would run the obituary. More than 100 people reacted to the post, and the newspaper later issued an apology and returned the fee. “Mrs. Williams’ obituary should have published as it was presented to our obits team and as requested by the family,” said Richard Green, the Courier Journal’s editor.

See Kentucky Newspaper Apologizes After Refusing to Run Obit Blaming Trump For Woman's Death, January 17, 2019.

Special thanks to Laura Galvan (Attorney, San Antonio, Texas) for bringing this article to my attention.


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