ALBUQUERQUE (KRQE) - A gravesite with a headstone for fictional meth kingpin Walter White will not remain at an Albuquerque cemetery as originally planned after families with actual loved ones buried there raised concerns.
The permanent site was meant to mark the spot at Sunset Memorial Park where a funeral for the main character in "Breaking Bad" was held Saturday to raise money for Albuquerque Health Care for the Homeless.
"It was never our intention to disrespect those who are buried at Sunset Memorial Park or cause pain to their families," wrote Michael Baird, owner of Vernon's Hidden Valley Steakhouse, a key event sponsor in a press release. "We greatly apologize to anyone who was offended."
There were, it turns out, a number of people offended. Manuel Montano, whose 6-year old is buried at Sunset, led an online petition to keep the headstone out of the cemetery. Hundreds attended the fake funeral and Montano says he photographed some of them standing on headstones for real people during the ceremony.
"One of the pictures, the grave that they were standing on was a 3-year-old child," Montano said.
His petition gathered more than 1,000 signatures and event organizers credited Montano's efforts as part of the reason they chose not to have the headstone and gravesite remain at the cemetery.
The headstone will instead stay at Vernon's Steakhouse in the North Valley.
Montano said Monday he and other families had received and accepted apologies from the event's organizers.
So far, the fake funeral has raised about $17,000 for charity according to event creator and organizer Jackamoe Buzzell. But that figure was second-guessed Monday on national radio by Howard Stern on his show.
"I don't believe you, I don't believe you, I'm hanging up," Stern said after Buzzell told him what the funeral had raised. "I mean he's lying, he's lying. Sorry Jackamoe. If you're not lying I apologize, but I believe you are."
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