I should start by saying that this article is in no way aimed to attack or debase the late Donald Perry, or to address his political or religious beliefs. What follows is directed solely at those who wish to exploit his death for their own underhanded, homophobic agenda and have levied false accusations at the LGBT community and their supporters.
On Friday morning, July 27, Donald Perry, 60, suffered a severe heart attack and died shortly thereafter. Perry was the public relations executive for Chick-Fil-A for 29 years.
Recently the company has taken flack for its massive yearly donations to certified anti-gay hate groups and its open opposition to same-sex marriage. Despite the fact that the campany’s anti-gay policies have been known about for years, there has been a recent upsurge against Chick-fil-A, and numerous boycotts.
Now, as you can probably guess, there have been some, on the right, who have correlated this recent public relations firestorm to Perry’s sudden death. Some have even dubbed him as a victim of “leftist homosexual bullying,” asserting that the stress set upon him by the opposition to Chick-fil-A is what lead to his “untimely” demise.
Some have even attempted to draw parallels between Perry’s death and those of gay teens, bullied into suicide — claims which range from absurd to downright repugnant, and that I feel need to be addressed.
For one, any reasonable individual looking at this case will be mindful of the fact that Perry was a 60 year-old male and was not exactly at the peak of physical fitness and health (not to be insulting). It would be quite irresponsible to ignore such factors when levying the cause of his death at other individuals or groups.
Now, speaking of “insults” to this man, I find it hard to believe that a man with three decades of experience in the field of public relations would be of such a frail constitution that he would, quite literally, keel over and die at the first sign of a public relations conflict.
I cannot speak for the veracity of his political views or ethics, but I am certain the man was capable of doing his job as the public face of Chick-fil-A. Yet, many on the right have tried painting him as some sort of hapless victim, unfit for his duties, instead of simply recognizing this incident for the unfortunate accident that it is.
The thing that truly irritates me is how some of these people have disingenuously evoked this notion of “bullying from the gays and leftists,” attempting to equate this man’s death to the thousands of LGBT youth who are both physically and mentally abused by their peers, and often by their own parents, to the point of suicide.
They lack the empathy or willingness to understand the agony of isolation and constant harassment that LGBT teens face, and how it drives them to the point of suicide — but they are perfectly willing to pretend that this wealthy, 60-year-old, PR executive was “bullied to death” because people wrote angry blogs and emails directed at his company.
I grow tired of addressing the twisted social narrative of oppression that conservative homophobes put forward when they are criticized for bigotry or called out on their misinformation and hypocrisy.
The death of Donald Perry is just one of the countless cases which they have exploited to push this ridiculous narrative, and I have to wonder when it will stop and when these people will finally grow up.