Did Westboro Stage Its Whitney Protest Photo?

Plus: Whitney Houston's dress, earrings to be auctioned
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 20, 2012 10:28 AM CST
Updated Feb 20, 2012 10:55 AM CST
Margie Phelps tweeted this photo along with the message: "Did my friends @BET see these lovelies? Such fun singing to @OccupyWallSt This picket is rocking the house!"   (Twitter)

(Newser) – Westboro Baptist Church promised to picket Whitney Houston's funeral, and Margie Phelps—daughter of church founder Fred Phelps—tweeted a picture Saturday appearing to show church members at the New Hope Baptist Church. Phelps also tweeted a few taunts directed at Occupy Newark, which had vowed to oppose the Westboro protest. ("Such fun singing to @OccupyWallSt This picket is rocking the house!") But the Star-Ledger notes that its reporters, who were on the scene, confirmed that access to the area was restricted all day and that they saw no active protests in the location shown in the picture, suggesting the whole thing may have been staged.

More Houston news:

  • Her family stripped the hotel room where Houston died, taking sheets, towels, and even trash in an effort to thwart would-be looters from stealing and then selling any of the items, sources tell TMZ.
  • But real souvenirs will be sold, the AP reports, namely one of Houston's black velvet dresses and earrings she wore in The Bodyguard. They will be included in an auction of Hollywood memorabilia held on March 31 and April 1, and the auctioneer insists the whole thing is "a celebration of her life."
  • Some guests who were staying at the Beverly Hilton Hotel the day Houston was found dead are asking for refunds, they tell TMZ. Those who were on the same floor as Houston say the entire floor was on lockdown, making it difficult for them to move about, and the commotion made it hard to sleep. So far, no refund or even a discount from the hotel.
  • Aretha Franklin pulled out of a planned performance at Houston's funeral Saturday, but performed later that night at Radio City Music Hall. Franklin's spokesperson insists the singer was having leg spasms and could not perform at the funeral, but others think she canceled after angering Houston's mother on a Today interview Friday. During that interview, Franklin appeared to criticize Houston's parents, the New York Daily News notes.
(Read more Whitney Houston stories.)

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