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An Open Letter To PETA Telling Them To Step The Eff Off In Regard To Aretha's Fur Coats

By Mieka Strawhorn | Industry | August 29, 2018 |

By Mieka Strawhorn | Industry | August 29, 2018 |


As you probably already know, PETA has got some damn nerve. The animal rights organization that’s always doing THE. MOST. had the audacity to suggest that Aretha Franklin posthumously donate her legendary fur coat collection to their fur donation program where it could be shipped off to “wildlife rehabilitation facilities, which turn them into bedding for orphaned wildlife,” to which I say how dare you? Not only is the idea repugnant and absurd, the request came directly to Aretha’s family, while The Queen lies in state and the country is in mourning. Just one week after Aretha’s passing, PETA sent an open letter to her niece with the donation request. Since PETA likes to write letters so much, I’ll respond in kind.

Dear PETA,

You MOTHER FUCKERS. The reason you are so wrong for this is because you know your request is bullshit. You already asked Aretha to donate her furs herself back in 2008 by sending her an appalling letter that ridiculed her weight and then posted it with an insult saying she looked like a “walrus in a cat costume,” to which I say how dare you? I’m sure Aretha never saw your little note, and certainly was not pressed about trifling insults from the likes of you but still; kindly eat shit (your own, I guess, otherwise it’s not vegan). Using Aretha’s death to promote your anti-fur agenda, when you already knew damn well you were never going to get your grubby paws on her goods, is beyond the pale.

It’s not a good look, PETA. I hope this backfired on you. I hope every card-carrying member of PETA with a conscience and a modicum of respect for the contributions of Miss Franklin to this planet and to every human being she touched with her soul, talent and legendary iconic badassery, turns their back on you in this, your pettiest of times.

On one point we agree; the fur industry is rotten. Everybody knows this, probably thanks in part to you (that’s the only compliment I’ll ever pay you), so Aretha’s fur collection is hardly a pressing matter. You did this for publicity and in doing so, you insult Aretha’s legacy. Shame on you.

Aretha earned every hair of her fur collection. It brought her joy and it brought me joy to see the joy it brought her. Those were not mere furs but the cloaks of a Queen. You might as well write a letter to Buckingham Palace and ask their queen to open up the Tower Of London and drag out all of Henry The Whatever’s furs to be shredded and used as animal bedding. Aretha’s furs belong in The Smithsonian, not to be used as a nest for orphaned possums. Scratch that, they belong wherever her family sees fit. What do I know, maybe they will donate them to you. I doubt it, but it’s their right. I think you and I both know it’s not what Aretha would have wanted. Now, begone with you! I can’t stand the thought of you a minute longer!

Spitefully yours,

Mieka Strawhorn


Here’s Ellen Burstyn telling a story about the many fur coats Aretha wore while hosting SNL in 1975.

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Mieka is a staff contributor. You can follow her on Twitter.

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