The real-life headstone for Breaking Bad character Walter White will be removed from the Albuquerque cemetery where it was placed last weekend Saturday following protests from families who have relatives buried there, according to The Hollywood Reporter. The protests, includign an online petition, arose as a local eatery staged a faux funeral for the character that doubled as a fundraiser to benefit the city’s homeless. In response to the complaints, officials at the cemetery Sunset Memorial Park had offered to move the headstone should it become a tourist attraction. Now, honoring the families’ requests, the fictional drug lord’s headstone and burial vault will be relocated to its own area in the Village Shops at Los Ranchos, the home of the restaurant that organized the funeral, Vernon’s Steakhouse, where fans can pay their respects.
A number of Albuquerque locals were offended by the proceedings. One man, Manuel Montano, whose six-year-old is buried at Sunset Memorial Park, spotted “mourners” standing on the grave of a child who had died at age three, according to Albuquerque TV station KRQE. He spearheaded the petition, which garnered over 1,000 signatures. Montano and other families have stated that the event organizers have since apologized to them.
“It was never our intention to disrespect those who are buried at Sunset Memorial Park or cause pain to their families,” Vernon’s Steakhouse owner Michael Baird said. “We created the Walter White Funeral and Final Amends as a way to have a positive impact on the community and help those who are negatively impacted by the terrible effects of drug addiction and homelessness. We greatly apologize to anyone who was offended, and want to ensure that the focus remains on the amazing work that Albuquerque HealthCare for the Homeless does in our community.”
The funeral has reportedly raised about $17,000. It drew an estimated 200 participants, many of whom formed an 80-car procession that followed White’s casket and signature RV through the streets of Albuquerque, causing a 10-minute delay in traffic.
The event’s organizers are trying to raise more money, according to KRQE, by selling two SUVs used in the final scenes of the series finale, as well as a painting of White by New Mexico artist Gabriel Ballentine. They’ve also stated their intention to create a memorial, in conjunction with the cemetery, to honor homeless people who have lost their lives.