Ebert Funeral Protest Doesn't Happen, Westboro Baptist Church Stays Home

Chris Greenhough

The Roger Ebert funeral protest threatened by the Westboro Baptist Church (WBC) reportedly failed to materialize.

Ebert was laid to rest in Chicago on Monday, with all reports suggesting the service and wake went undisturbed.

Relatives and friends celebrated the renowned film critic's life in peace, remembering the writer as an individual who praised art and imagination.

The WBC, known for staging publicity-grabbing demonstrations at funerals, stayed at home this time, with no sign of the proposed Ebert funeral protest.

The controversial Kansas church has failed to follow through on such threats before, instead preferring to bask in the publicity caused by its warnings.

Roger Ebert provoked the ire of the WBC in the days leading up to his death. On March 25, the critic tweeted a link to a Salon post that included an excerpt from a gay man who spent a day at the church.

Ebert sent the link out twice, once with the message, "Just another day at Westboro Baptist" and a second time with the words, "One more day at the Westboro Baptist church."

— Roger Ebert (@ebertchicago) March 25, 2013

"American entertainment industry publicity leech Roger Ebert took to Twitterverse to mock the faithful servants of God at Westboro Baptist Church, just days before he received the horrifying summons."

Despite the church threatening to show up, the Ebert funeral protest never went ahead.

The Chicago Tribune reports how Ebert's widow, Chaz Ebert, delivered an emotional speech at the wake for her late husband. "Roger would have loved this," she said. "He would have loved the majesty of it. He would have loved everything about it. He would have loved (that) we're all here for him. He had a heart big enough to accept and love all."

Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel, who attended the funeral, said Ebert was "the most American of American critics in the most American of American cities."

Ebert died last week after a decade-long battle with cancer. He was 70.