Louis Theroux’s Acclaimed Docuseries on Westboro Baptist Church Returns, Featuring Activist Megan Phelps-Roper.
Documentarian Louis Theroux takes on the Westboro Baptist Church for the third time in BBC 2’s recently released Surviving the World’s Most Hated Family—the buzzed about follow-up to his popular 2007 and 2011 intimate exposés viewed by millions. As in the previous films, Theroux features Megan Phelps-Roper—first as young woman embroiled in the family and its message, and now as a former member. She left Westboro behind in 2012 after engaging with open-minded, empathetic people on Twitter, who helped her come to realize her community was wrong.
As per church rules, she’s forbidden from contacting family and friends still within the church—which is why it’s so powerful when Theroux tells her the news of two of her sisters’ recent engagements. It’s a complex situation emotionally—it’s hard to know how to react to what should be happy news for a loved one, when you know that it means strengthening their ties to a toxic community, making it less likely you’ll see them again.
Megan’s hotly anticipated memoir, Unfollow, is set to hit the shelves this fall. In it, she explores the internationally loathed close-knit community of Westboro from the inside: how she was immersed in their backwards rhetoric of hate and hostility, and how she managed to extricate herself and turn her personal legacy into one of love and compassion instead.