Bishop Eddie Long, the head of Georgia’s New Birth Missionary Baptist Church, has passed away at the age of 63.
The news was first announced this morning by Roland Martin who tweeted that he had indeed confirmed the news.
Long passed away after losing a battle with an aggressive form of cancer.
A public statement has been released and was first given to CNN affiliate WGCL, which explained the nature of Long’s death and included a statement from his wife, Vanessa Long.
“Although his transition leaves a void for those of us who loved him dearly, we can celebrate and be happy for him, knowing he’s at peace,” she said in the statement.
The news is a sad turn of events for the megachurch leader and it’s also a harsh reminder of just how blunt and unfiltered the world of social media can truly be.
While Long was once remember solely as an iconic pastor, he was also at the center of a controversial scandal that seemed to tarnish his name in the eyes of the public.
It’s been more than five years since the first shocking allegations against Long were first made but it seems as if the memory of the claims has already been permanently etched into many people’s memories.
It was back in 2010 that male accusers stepped forward claiming that Long had coerced them into sexual relationships while they were underage and was also sending them suggestive images.
Regardless of this scandal, losing a life to cancer is always a tragic event but social media has reminded us that even death can be a murky topic when a dark past is involved.
Not every timeline has been filled with statements of mourning or condolences but these same users certainly aren’t holding back their feelings on the matter either.
Bishop Eddie long died wow ? Who play today tho
— DADITO CALDERONE (@TAXSTONE) January 15, 2017
Rather than an outpouring of support for Long’s family, some social media users have posted messages along the lines of “good riddance” or attached comical memes and gifs to their tweets that suggest they are unbothered by the news.
One user even stated that they would simply be “moving on with [their] day” after hearing the news before adding that they hoped this was not just another Internet hoax.
Let’s be honest. A lot of us feel conflicted overall when it comes to Long’s death as many people are left teetering on the line of hating what he did while feeling uncertain about how to react to news that a life has been lost.
The social media reaction certainly seems to beg the question—Is it ever appropriate to celebrate or make light of someone’s death and, if so, where do we draw that line?
I don't condone #EddieLong's actions, but I am truly amused by and amazed at all of the folks that have not sinned & are casting stones.
— Dr. DaVonne (DAY-von) Darby (@daylana) January 15, 2017
It’s hard to debate the fact that Long had a life shrouded in controversy and many people believe he wasn’t exactly the role model they would have hoped a megachurch leader would be.
Even then, however, to brush off his death in the same way that people made light of the faux Tomi Lahren death is…well…questionable and uncomfortable.
Other users, however, did their best to show respect while also denouncing Long’s actions.
We send our deepest condolences to the Long family.
We also hope that discussions about his inexcusable actions focus on finding solutions for the future.
So what do you think? Is social media justified in their reaction to the death or have they taken things a step too far?
Leave your thoughts in the comments below or tweet us your thoughts!