top of page
  • Writer's pictureDonald V. Watkins

Fred L. Copeland Commits Suicide After 1819 Reporter Craig Monger Outed His Cross-dressing Lifestyle

By: Donald V. Watkins

Copyrighted and Published on November 5, 2023

IMAGE: Fred Lavon Copeland, the deceased Mayor of Smiths Station, Alabama.

An Editorial Opinion

Fred Lavon ''Bubba'' Copeland called the Smiths Station area of Lee County, Alabama his home for most of his life. He attended Smiths Station High School and obtained a hotel and restaurant management degree from Auburn University. Copeland served on the Lee County Board of Education for 11 years before becoming Mayor in 2016.

In addition to serving as Smiths Stations’ Mayor, Fred Copeland owned and operated The Country Market in the Salem community and served as a pastor at the First Baptist Church of Phenix City, Alabama.

On November 3, 2023, Copeland killed himself after 1819 News reporter Craig Monger “outed” his cross-dressing lifestyle on November 1st. Occasionally, Copeland dressed as a woman and posted photos and comments about his persona as a cross-dresser under a pseudonym on a private social media site.

Fred Copeland leaves behind his loving wife Angela and three children.

IMAGE: The Fred Copeland family.

Why Did 1819 News and Reporter Craig Monger “out” Copeland?

Smiths Station is a city with a population of 5,381 (as of 2021). The city has no strategic value to the state’s growth or prosperity, to the extent that state officials claim such economic factors actually exist in Alabama.

Fred Copeland was not a major political player in the state. He was not on the board of any major corporation or state university in Alabama.

So, why did 1819 News and reporter Craig Monger “out” Copeland?

IMAGE: 1819 Reporter Craig Monger, a/k/a Michael Craig Monger.

Craig Monger had to know that his article would make Copeland’s life unbearable in a deep "Red State" that is filled with hatred toward its LGBTQ+ citizens. Nearly every white politician in the state who runs for local, state, and/or federal office campaigns on a platform of hatred toward members of the LGBTQ+ community.

Thankfully, the state's black community is more tolerant of the lifestyle choices of the state’s LGBTQ+ citizens. Actor, filmmaker, and playwright Tyler Perry made an entire Hollywood career by cross-dressing as "Madea."

There are scores of high-impact players in major Alabama corporations, at flagship state universities, inside the halls of state government, on Alabama’s 19-judge appellate courts, and on the federal bench in Alabama who Craig Monger could have “outed” in a legitimate pursuit of the public interest. These individuals are well-known within the state’s community of legacy and online journalists.

For reasons that are known only to the 1819 News organization, Craig Monger bypassed these high-impact players and targeted Fred Copeland for public destruction. This was a senseless act of gratuitous "character assassination" that led to Copeland's physical death.

Interestingly, Craig Monger made no assertion in his article that Copeland's private cross-dressing activities interfered in any way with the faithful performance of his duties as Mayor of Smiths Station. Likewise, Monger presented no facts in his article that Copeland was grooming minors to enter the cross-dressing lifestyle.

The sole purpose of Craig Monger's "outing" article was to embarrass and humiliate Fred and Angela Copeland. Monger was successful in this regard.

IMAGE: Angela and Fred Copeland.

After Fred Copeland was "outed" by Craig Monger, he decided his life was no longer worth living. Copeland killed himself with a gun.

What public interest was served by Craig Monger's article "outing" Fred Copeland? Absolutely none!

2,732 views1 comment

1 Comment

Rated 0 out of 5 stars.
No ratings yet

Add a rating
Apr 08
Rated 1 out of 5 stars.

Craig Monger is an example of “if you can say something nice, don’t say anything at all.”

Who was Copeland hurting? I don’t believe he beat anyone with a chain with a padlock on the end. Oh wait. We only say embarrassing things about others, not our friends or work colleagues. I pray that you never make a mistake in your life. Though you are still young so mistakes can happen. I ask again, Who was Copeland hurting with his habit? I do agree that the internet postings were a poor decision. Things we do in private are between us and God. Your supposed journalism cost a man his life, his children a father, his wife her husband, a commun…

bottom of page