In yet another “classy” move, People For the Ethical Treatment of Animals has barely let a week go by between the sad passing of music icon Aretha Franklin and the sending of a “condolences” note to her niece asking that her furs be donated to them.
“Drunk on its own delusions of power, PETA is lashing out,” writes the New York Post. “So People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, a shameless organization whose self-appointed mission is to defend the rights of anything that breathes, except humans, has demanded that the estate of The Queen of Soul donate all the fuzzy garments she collected and wore over her storied life to the needy and the homeless.”
The letter, sent to Ms. Franklin’s niece by PETA Executive President Tracy Reiman, read, in part: “Aretha will always be remembered for all that she did to help empower African-American people, especially women, in her lifetime. Might we now call on her estate to help end the cruel era of wearing animal fur by donating her fur coats to PETA, where they'll go on to offer warmth and comfort to those who need it the most? In the past, we've given donated fur coats to homeless shelters in the U.S. and to displaced refugees in Afghanistan, Mongolia, and Syria.
“By donating Aretha Franklin's fur coats to PETA, her family could expand her legacy of social justice to animals,” Reiman continued. “While we can't bring back the animals who suffered and died for them, these coats can help others by providing some much-needed warmth to orphaned animals and humans in desperate need.”
That’s quite a reversal from the letter PETA sent to Ms. Franklin in 2008.
“The pictures that have been circulating of Aretha Franklin at the Grammy awards last week don’t even really need the tagline to drive that point home,” the PETA website proudly proclaims. “She looks like a walrus in a cat costume. Except, like, nowhere near as cute as that sounds.”
The website then reproduces the clever note PETA Vice President Dan Mathews sent to the Queen of Soul:
Dear Aretha –
Music lovers may think of you as a “queen,” but to animal lovers, you are a court jester. I’m sorry, Aretha, but your furs make you look like a clown. Why not shed the old-fashioned look that adds pounds to your frame and detracts from your beautiful voice? Won’t you donate your furs to the poor as “queen of compassion,” Mariah Carey, did? You’ll get a tax credit for the donation, and we at PETA will all sing your praises.
Not satisfied with extending the condolence and request to donate furs, PETA also issued a press release with a copy of the letter. In the accompanying press release, Reiman commented: “By donating Aretha Franklin’s fur coats to PETA, her family could expand her legacy of social justice to animals.”
“Taking animal rights to this dizzying level is palpably absurd, and PETA should be collectively ashamed for promoting such unhealthy rot,” says the New York Post report. “However silly it may seem, PETA’s toolbox has proved wildly effective against honest business: Threaten to sue. Sue. Embarrass and humiliate people engaged in legal pursuits.”
Regardless of one’s position on wearing fur, The Root.com makes the following observation: “anyone familiar with Franklin knows her seemingly endless array of furs weren’t just an accessory… it might be argued that pieces of this particular part of the legend’s history might be considered museum-worthy—or, at the very least, should first be curated and distributed amongst Franklin’s family members and friends before any donations are made or considered.
“It’s also very clear this [animal rights] was not a cause Franklin was aligned with in life, so attempting to parallel her dedication to the civil rights movement and status as a feminist icon with ‘social justice’ for the animals she was clearly so fond of wearing was (in our estimation) … a reach.”
In other words – tacky.