Is Judy Shepard Making Too Much Money Off Her Slain Son Matthew?

Michael Petrelis, the one-man San Francisco shameless critic factory, certainly thinks so! “As with practically every other top honcho at a Gay Inc group, Judy’s salary at the foundation currently is a robust six-figures. In 2007 her pay was $85,025, for 2008 it was $102,813, and the 2009 IRS 990 tax filing for her nonprofit is listed at $127,918. One way Matthew Shepard Inc keeps itself in business is through Judy collecting between $10,000 – $20,000 for speaking engagements. … Should you want to throw money away, you could attend an upcoming Elton John concert and part of the ticket price will go to the foundation. I’d like Matthew Shepard Inc to go on hiatus for at least a decade. There’s are enough readings and stagings of The Laramie Project, sales of the movie version and the latest in crappy merchandise, thousands of mentions of Shepard’s name monthly on the web and in the gay community to last a lifetime. His name and legacy wouldn’t disappear if the industry surrounding his slaying took a long [permanent?] vacation. Nothing will bring Shepard back to life, but Matthew Shepard Inc closing up shop for an extended time would at minimum restore some dignity to his legacy and halt the ridiculous and crass commercialization associated with him.” Yes, but then where would all the gay skiers go to cruise the lodge? Also, are we really having a conversation about how a courageous woman, who has used the legacy of her gay-bashed-to-death son to raise awareness about gay crimes and lobby lawmakers to protect our community, is somehow paying herself too much by earning a relatively modest salary? I kind of like the idea of a “gay activist brand” — a concept that is completely kosher, by the way — being built not around Joe Solmonese’s ego, but one of our lost ones.

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