A Kentucky newspaper issued an apology after it received heavy criticism for refusing to run an obituary for an 87-year-old Democratic woman, who believed President Donald Trump's administration "hastened her death" and which was referenced to in the obituary, according to reports.
Frances Irene Finley Williams' daughter, Cathy Duff, while recalling her mother's statement said: "If I die soon, all this Trump stuff has had an effect."
Duff said that her mother had made the statement six months before her death, according to the Daily Mail. Williams reportedly died on November 21 last year, just before Thanksgiving. The 87-year-old's obituary remembered her as a passionate Democrat who loved Elvis Presley and was known for her talent at bridge playing.
We screwed up. And I'm here to set the record straight. https://t.co/6BCAZ4T1XE— Joe Gerth (@Joe_Gerth) January 15, 2019
Duff said that her mother was quite straightforward when it came to talking about the political climate of the country. However, when her family decided to include a politically-charged line at the end of Williams' obituary, the Louisville Courier-Journal refused to run it.
The sentence which promoted the refusal was: "Her passing was hastened by her continued frustration with the Trump administration."
Duff, while talking to The Washington Post, said that she had added the line in the obituary because she "felt like, along with everything else that was in there, that was a vital part of her personality and something she expressed with me over the last few months."
"So I felt it was important to put it in there. We never gave it any more thought than that," Duff added.
Reports state that Duff and her family found out on December 24 that the newspaper had rejected the $1,684 obituary, just two days before it was scheduled to run.
The Cremation Society of Kentucky, which had been handling Williams' obit, said that it received an email from a Gannett employee stating that the obituary was rejected because of "negative comment."
"You are more than welcome to remove the negative content so we may move forward with publishing if you wish," the email read.
The Louisville Courier-Journal and Gannett employees apologized to the family of Frances Irene Finley Williams on Tuesday, saying the decision to remove the sentence about Trump was a "mistake." https://t.co/OQuTvXoWku— Mary Newell Pape (@marynpape) January 17, 2019
Although the grieving family removed the line from the obit, Duff's brother, Art Williams, shared the "disappointing" news on Facebook, saying he was "dumbfounded."
"I was, and still am, dumbfounded, surprised, but most of all disappointed and aghast that a once historically courageous American newspaper that exists by reason of freedom of speech would so trivially move to abate the free speech that it seems, when convenient, to hypocritically champion," Art Williams wrote.
"And over a relatively innocuous sentence. ... My mom would have been offended," the Facebook post read.
The director of sales for Gannett's West Group, Laurie Bolle, later issued a statement that the decision to refuse the obituary was a "mistake," and that the paper will be running the obituary in full.