UPDATE: Farrell apologizes for pro-Westboro Facebook post

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Posted: Tuesday, March 25, 2014 5:47 pm | Updated: 6:03 pm, Tue Mar 25, 2014.

Vice mayor Ed Farrell explained his controversial Facebook post on Tuesday, saying he had no idea who Fred Phelps was or that the obituary Farrell posted was a fake piece from The Onion.

Read the original story here.

“We need more Fred Phelps in this world,” Farrell initially wrote on his wall. “May you rest in peace sir.”

The Maricopa Monitor attempted to contact Farrell by phone and through email Monday, hours after the City leader praised the anti-gay pastor and Westboro Baptist Church leader in a social media post that morning, but was unsuccessful.

“I had no idea who this Phelps guy was, I had no idea about the publication the Onion,” Farrell told the Monitor in a phone conversation Tuesday afternoon. “I was just simply scrolling down my news feed and saw this article.”

Initially, Farrell thought Phelps was just a Kansas-based minister, rather than the instigator of protests at U.S. soldiers’ funerals.

“I had no clue about this guy; he’s an idiot,” Farrell said. “I can’t believe that I posted what I posted…shame on me.”

A recent upsetting experience triggered the post, the vice mayor said.

It stems from a trip to Washington, D.C. for the City of Maricopa, where Farrell lobbied for capital projects such as Interstate 11 and the Santa Cruz Wash plans. One morning, as Farrell was using a shower in a hotel health club locker room, a male employee took pictures of Farrell in the shower with a cell phone.

Farrell said once he spied the intruder, the man ran out of the locker room and off the hotel premises. Despite reporting the incident immediately to hotel staff, the man wasn’t caught until eight hours later, Farrell said, and the investigation remains ongoing,

The vice mayor was livid and said he felt extremely violated. “If I would have caught this guy, I would be in jail right now,” he said.

Farrell said he worries about the time period from the incident until the man was caught.

“I have nightmares about me seeing my naked body on the Internet,” Farrell told the Monitor. My heartbeat go up every time I go to the Internet, I think ‘is this the time, is this the time?

“It scares the crap out of me,” he said.

When he came across the satirical article about Phelps, “quite honestly it was refreshing” after that experience, Farrell said. “I'm a little scarred right now.”

Farrell stands by at least one part of his original post. “I wish America could get back to the Biblical foundations,” he said Tuesday.

Farrell joins a long list of prominent celebrities, politicians and other actual news agencies who have seen an article from “The Onion,” and believed it to be fact, including Rep. John Fleming (R-La.), ESPN talking head Stephen A. Smith and China's official state newspaper.

“Many have pointed to Phelps’ preaching against the sin of homosexuality as the overwhelming reason why all homosexual advocacy groups died out entirely in the early 1990s,” the fake obit states.

Farrell posted a clarification in the comments section of his original post about 9:30 p.m. Monday.

After mentioning he has “many, many” gay and lesbian friends, Farrell states he read the article with no prior knowledge of Phelps or The Onion. “If you read the article, it mentions nothing about him being anti military, which by the way, I support our troops 100 % and thank God every morning for the ones that put their lives and their families on the line for America,” Farrell writes. “All the article mentions is how this guy fought against Gay rights on a biblical platform that God set before us.”

The vice mayor then lists Bible verses that address homosexual acts before affirming he isn’t judging anyone: “Heck the bible also says that God hates divorce. I am a divorced man, a convicted man! I pray to God every day to please forgive me,” he writes.

Later on in the post, Farrell mentions his frustration at small groups’ advocacy to push for laws that reflect, in his opinion, unpopular views. “What just irritates me the most is when these 10% want to change the law through the constitution that our founding fathers made before us with the fear of God in all of their hearts, souls, and minds while making these laws….if I have offended anyone, please accept my apologies, that was not my intent at all.”

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  • Jt102493 posted at 9:15 pm on Sun, Mar 30, 2014.

    Jt102493 Posts: 1

    I wish I did, but I don't believe a word of what he says. Again, Arizona represents themselves and bigoted and uneducated morons. Isn't there a single politician in the state that will do us proud? Anyone at all?

  • whatsnext posted at 1:34 pm on Sat, Mar 29, 2014.

    whatsnext Posts: 66

    More embarrassment for the citizens of Maricopa City by our elected officials.The new ethics code written for (and I believe written by)the elected Maricopa Council must not have many teeth behind it as they seem to feel that they are above everybody else.We have endured negative local,state and probably national news for alleged bullying of seniors by a member,a member that has a chip on their shoulder with Steve Smith,a super extreme DUI,another DUI by a different member,an alleged harassment against female city employees that led to a resignation,a bankruptcy involving a member..Did I miss anything?One has to wonder who Mr Farrell is lobbying for in DC.Is it for the City of Maricopa,or for the partnerships he is involved with?This City and Council needs to have an independent audit to find out if our tax dollars are being spent wisely.Remember the fiasco in the small town in California about a year ago where the Council nearly bankrupted the city through corruption/,it can happen anywhere.One would also have to wonder why any upstanding Company looking to move their business and employees would even consider a city (Maricopa) that has this much drama.These incidents only amplify how our leadership team has a lot of I's in the way they spell teamwork.Now some are running for even more important positions as in the JP position.One of the members not seeking re-election to the Council has zero experience or qualifications for this very important position.The citizens should not have to go through a learning curve as someone with no experience or qualifications in law is learning how to dole out Justice and fines.Nothing personnel against anyone,but just tired of seeing bad news instead of good news.

  • Snapple posted at 12:13 pm on Fri, Mar 28, 2014.

    Snapple Posts: 1

    1. Story about the cell phone incident has changed from one story to the next.
    2. Doesn't know The Onion is a satirical site.
    3. Doesn't know who Fred Phelps is - despite a major SCOTUS ruling concerning free speech rights due to his organization.

    So, basically, Mr. Farrell isn't very intelligent. Ok. Good to know.

  • RomanHans posted at 11:03 am on Fri, Mar 28, 2014.

    RomanHans Posts: 1

    In the original piece on this topic, Mr. Farrell said the "entitled" man who allegedly snapped a photo of him in the gym shower was "fired immediately." In this version, he was caught eight hours later. Also, he says the man ran out of the locker room and off the hotel premises. Aside from sounding unlikely, I'm wondering how Mr. Farrell would know this unless he was chasing him. Which seems like an odd detail to leave out of a story.

    Last, I hope no one views Mr. Farrell as just homophobic. If he thinks we act "entitled" because we fight for our rights, he surely must hate quite a lot of minority groups.


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