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Monday, December 09, 2019 {{ new Date().getDay() }}

By Katie Byard, Akron Beacon Journal

AKRON, Ohio — National animal welfare group PETA is abandoning its idea to turn serial killer Jeffrey Dahmer’s childhood home in Bath Township, Ohio, into a vegan restaurant.

“We regret that we won’t be able to move forward with this project, even though it was met with some enthusiasm as well as some derisive comments,” said Moira Colley, media officer with People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, in an email Tuesday.

Last week, the organization proposed that the home be turned into a vegan restaurant called Eat For Life: Home Cooking. Ingrid E. Newkirk, PETA’s president, sent a letter dated Friday to the real estate agent who has listed the Bath Township house for sale.

In the letter, she asked about the listing and proposed making the house a vegan restaurant “to respond to the past with something positive.”

The real estate agent, Richard Lubinski of Stouffer Realty, said Tuesday that he was not surprised that PETA dropped the proposal.

“I had to take it seriously,” he said, out of “fiduciary duty to my client.” But he said, “with PETA’s history of these stunts … it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to put two-and-two together” to determine the suggestion was a publicity stunt.

Lubinski noted that in 2012, PETA said it wanted to turn the Florida home of O.J. Simpson into a “Meat is Murder Museum.” The home was in foreclosure, and PETA asked the bank if it would donate or sell the home to the group. Simpson was acquitted in 1995 on murder charges in the killing of his ex-wife and her friend.

This was not even the first time that PETA, headquartered in Norfolk, Va., had invoked Dahmer’s notoriety in its animal-rights advocacy. In 1991, the organization received a lot of publicity when it created a newspaper advertisement comparing meatpacking operations to Dahmer’s mutilation killings.

The ad ran in apparently just one paper, the Des Moines Register, according to 1991 media reports. But USA Today noted in a story that same year that PETA had tracked coverage resulting from the ad and it had generated coverage about the group from 62 media outlets in 21 states.

In the 1991 USA Today article about PETA’s shock-value tactics, Newkirk said, “Probably everything we do is a publicity stunt. … We’re not here to shock and horrify, but sometimes you have to grab people’s attention.”

Concerning the Dahmer home, PETA media officer Colley said in her email Tuesday that “Although some people thought the home’s out-of-the-way location was a deal breaker, that was not our opinion. … However, getting zoning for a restaurant on this site is apparently impossible, in part because of issues with the plumbing and waste systems.”

Bill Funk, the township’s zoning inspector and administrator, told the Akron Beacon Journal on Friday that it’s unlikely Bath Township would change the zoning to allow a business such as a restaurant in a residential neighborhood.

The three-bedroom house at 4480 W. Bath Road is zoned for single-family residential use. Dahmer killed the first of his 17 victims there. In 1978, he killed and dismembered Coventry Township resident Steven M. Hicks in the house and scattered his remains on the 1.5-acre property.

The home has been on and off the market since 2012. The current owner, musician Chris Butler, has said he bought the house in 2005 to have a place to stay when he visited Akron, but he no longer has reason to spend much time in the area. The home is listed for $295,000.

Photo: ecoSANITY.org via Flickr

Actor as Donald Trump in Russia Today video ad

Screenshot from RT's 'Trump is here to make RT Great Again'

Russia Today, the network known in this country as RT, has produced a new "deep fake" video that portrays Donald Trump in post-presidential mode as an anchor for the Kremlin outlet. Using snippets of Trump's own voice and an actor in an outlandish blond wig, the ad suggests broadly that the US president is indeed a wholly owned puppet of Vladimir Putin– as he has so often given us reason to suspect.

"They're very nice. I make a lot of money with them," says the actor in Trump's own voice. "They pay me millions and hundreds of millions."

But when American journalists described the video as "disturbing," RT retorted that their aim wasn't to mock Trump, but his critics and every American who objects to the Russian manipulations that helped bring him to power.

As an ad for RT the video is amusing, but the network's description of it is just another lie. Putin's propagandists are again trolling Trump and America, as they've done many times over the past few years –- and this should be taken as a warning of what they're doing as Election Day approaches.

The Lincoln Project aptly observed that the Russians "said the quiet part out loud" this time, (Which is a bad habit they share with Trump.)