A mayor in Alabama has died in an apparent suicide – days after a right-wing site published pictures of him wearing women’s clothes and makeup.
F.L. “Bubba” Copeland – who was also a pastor at a nearby church – fatally shot himself on Friday, according to Sky’s US partner NBC News.
Mr Copeland had asked for the website not to publish the photographs, but it refused and went ahead with the story two days before his death.
He had been quoted as saying: “What I do in private life has nothing to do with what I do in my holy life.
“Does this have any effect on me being mayor, that I sometimes put on a dress or sometimes put on makeup? Does that have anything to do whatsoever with me being mayor or being a pastor?”
The Conservative publication behind the story has been condemned by a Democratic senator in the state, who said it was “sad and disgusting” how Mr Copeland had been treated.
“We live in a mean, bitter world where the self-righteous tend to throw the largest stones,” Doug Jones added in a statement.
“He was a good man and a great mayor who led the small town of Smith Station through the tough times of a devastating tornado a few years ago.”
An autopsy is due to take place on Monday.
Anyone feeling emotionally distressed or suicidal can call Samaritans for help on 116 123 or email email@example.com in the UK. In the US, call the Samaritans branch in your area or 1 (800) 273-TALK.