Harvey Updyke’s appearance at a Mobile, Alabama charity event has been canceled following death threats on social media. One of the event’s organizer’s, Dee Dee Bonner informed ESPN that she and others involved with the gathering decided it best to pull Updyke following the negative reactions.
“It seems to be taking away from the primary purpose, which is raising awareness for children’s cancer,” Bonner said. “We don’t want to take away from the focus. We needed to get away from it.”
Roses From Linda, the charity hosting the event, released the following statement on its Facebook page.
We have decided not to include Mr Updyke in our “For Ollie” event. The focus shifted from our only goal of helping families fighting childhood cancer to more about Mr Updyke.
We still have amazing auction packages and Dee Dee said she will work hard to get even more.
I feel now everyone can focus on helping families with children battling cancer. Through awareness, research, and funding we can all make a positive difference!
Bonner believes that Updyke is contrite, but understands that his crime still carries deep wounds for many people in the state of Alabama.
“I think Mr. Updyke’s heart was in the right place with what he wanted to do, but I think too many people are still upset about what he did and haven’t gotten over it,” Bonner said. “I didn’t approve of what he did, but I think he really wanted to help.”
The event takes place Sept. 29, and will feature auction items from Katherine Webb, Kevin Norwood, Eryk Anders and others.