Mayor kills himself after blog exposed his cross-dressing ‘curvy girl’ content

A small-town mayor and pastor has shot himself dead after his cross-dressing 'curvy girl' adult content was made public.

F.L. “Bubba” Copeland killed himself in front of police on Friday during a welfare check, the Lee County Sheriff's Office said. The incident occurred days after a local conservative news website published a story that included photos of him wearing women’s clothing and makeup.

Copeland, who was the mayor of Smiths Station and the pastor at First Baptist Church in Phenix City (corr), Alabama, had his private life exposed on Wednesday by the conservative blog 1819 News. The username of Copeland’s Reddit and Instagram accounts were published in the blog, adding that he posed “in various outfits, some more racy than others.”

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Written by Craig Monger, the post was headlined: The secret life of Smiths Station Mayor and Baptist pastor F.L. ‘Bubba’ Copeland as a ‘transgender curvy girl’: ‘It’s a hobby I do to relieve stress’.

The blog also said that Copeland used the pseudonym “Brittini Blaire Summerlin” and posted pornography and advice on chemically transitioning.

It reported that Copeland, a Republican, confirmed that the accounts were run by him, saying they were a “hobby” he used for “getting rid of stress.”

According to 1819 News Copeland asked them to not out him, but they did so anyway. A short article was published by the site to report Copeland’s suicide. Copeland was elected to be mayor of Smiths Station, a town of about 5,000 near the Georgia state line, in 2016.

His extracurricular activities rocked the community, with his church referring to the scandal as “unbiblical behaviour” in a statement.Copeland reportedly told his parishioners that the article did not represent “who or what I am,“ adding it would "not cause my life to change.”

On Wednesday before giving his final sermon, which was live streamed online, he said it would not waver his devotion to his family, city and church.Copeland, who was married, said he was the subject of an “internet attack.”

He added that “a lot of things were taken out of context” and that “hundreds and hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of people” had reached out to offer their support for him.

“Yes, I have taken pictures with my wife in the privacy of our home in an attempt of humour because I know I’m not a handsome man nor a beautiful woman, either,” he said. “I apologize for any embarrassment caused by my private, personal life.”

The uproar took a tragic turn on Friday, when Lee County Sheriff Jay Jones said that deputies who tried to pull Copeland over for a welfare check witnessed him step out of his car and shoot himself.

On Saturday morning the church’s Facebook page changed its profile and cover photo to be black and white, seemingly to honour Copeland.

Defending his reporting on X, formerly Twitter, Monger responded to a since deleted tweet saying: “‘Digging up someone’s personal life’ is reporting on what someone posts publicly on social media? Interesting take.”

In a separate post responding to criticism, Monger wrote: “Pictures posted to Reddit are now considered ‘private,’ according to the kiddy table of Alabama media.”

Monger has not posted since Copeland’s suicide.

Phenix City School Superintendent Larry DiChiara, who said he was an old friend of Copeland, shared his anger and heartbreak in a Facebook post.

“I witnessed a good man be publicly ridiculed and crucified over the last few days… to the point that he just took his own life today,” he said.

For emotional support, you can call the Samaritans 24-hour helpline on 116 123, [email protected], visit a Samaritans branch in person or go to the Samaritans website.

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