Parents of Slain NH Journalist Call Ad “Deplorable”

Parents of a slain New Hampshire journalist are speaking out in an emotional interview with NECN, after the image of their son moments before he is beheaded, shows up in a conservative ad campaign.

The parents of James Foley, the New Hampshire journalist slain by ISIS, say it is "deplorable" that an image of their son moments before his execution has appeared in a conservative ad campaign.

James Foley's mother and father, Diane and John, told NECN in an emotional interview that they are demanding that the ad be pulled from New Hampshire.

Diane Foley remembers her son as a courageous and compassionate man who helped give a voice to people suffering in Syria.

"He was just the best of America," she said.

The image of her son in an orange jumpsuit just seconds before Islamist extremist militants executed him is something she tries to forget. But a new campaign ad from a conservative group called Secure America Now is forcing the Foley family to relive that horrific moment.

"I think it is deplorable, and there should be an apology," said John Foley.

Secure America Now uses the image in a 15-second internet ad attacking Sen. Jeanne Shaheen and other Democratic incumbents in critical Senate races nationwide.

"It makes me very sad that people would use the brutality of our son's death for their own political purposes," Mrs. Foley said.

The president of Secure America Now, Allen Roth, says the group did not contact the Foley family before making the ad public.

"The image has appeared around the world millions of times. We meant no harm; we just took an image that is in public domain, and we used it," Roth told NECN in a phone interview Thursday.

Sen. Shaheen has called the ad disgraceful, and her Republican challenger Scott Brown called it disrespectful. People in Foley's hometown of Rochester couldn't agree more.

"To see this brought back and put in our faces has been really appalling, and I hope the ad goes away very soon," said Rochester Mayor T.J. Jean.

Roth says the group doesn't plan to issue any apologies, saying the ad is simply not controversial.

"I am saying there is an attempt to create a controversy here, and that attempt is purely political," Roth told NECN.

Foley's parents say this has nothing to do with politics. This is about being human.

"I would just like them to have the sensitivity and compassion to withdraw that image from their campaign," Mrs. Foley said.

Secure America Now emphasizes that the Foley execution video and the image have been used in other campaigns across the country several different times.

After talking with NECN, Roth said the group would consider pulling the ad from New Hampshire out of respect for Foley and his family.

Because of the ad, the state Democratic party is now calling on Scott Brown to return $10,000 of campaign funds it says Brown received from John Bolton, a Secure America Now board member.

The Brown campaign did not respond to NECN's specific request for comment on that issue.

However, Roth made it clear that SAN board members are not involved in creating ads, nor do they see them before they go public. Roth says Bolton had nothing to do with this.

Contact Us