As ‘God Hates Fags’ founder Fred Phelps dies, Twitter mistakenly mourns Olympic swimmer Michael Phelps

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Do you know the difference between the late long-time homophobe Fred Phelps and US Olympic swimmer Michael Phelps? Apparently these Twitter users don’t.

The main difference is that Fred Phelps, founder of the vehemently homophobic Westboro ‘God Hates Fags’ Baptist Church, died on Wednesday aged 84, yet the 28-year-old multi-gold-medal winning US swimmer Michael Phelps is very much alive.

That didn’t stop these Twitter users from confusing the two.

Some simply got the names mixed up…



Others seemed determined to mash the two together, admitting that the new hybrid Phelps was an “amazing” swimmer, but conceding that he was a “hate spewing piece of trash”.

Some just wondered what on earth was going on, and asked how the world could have come to hate the hero swimmer.

Phelps 2

We’re not sure if Fred Phelps took time out to go swimming, but at least now Michael Phelps has an insight into what the reaction to his death might be, should he decide to establish a religious organisation which pickets funerals with signs saying “God Hates Fags”.

A similar confusion broke out almost a year ago on Twitter as the hashtag used to spread the news of Margaret Thatcher’s death, #nowthatcherisdead led some users to believe that the singer Cher, had died.