May 30, 2024

American ‘reverend’ enjoys his job of assisting suicide

Disturbing profile of George Exoo

A disturbing profile in the Guardian of the one leading lights of the right-to-die movement, the Rev. George Exoo, shows that there is a hierarchy of repute even amongst fans of assisted suicide. Exoo is a "a gay, liberal, libertarian Unitarian preacher, cultured, funny, charming", says Jon Ronson, who has just made a documentary about him for British television. He is also an embarrassment for his colleagues.

Exoo surfaced in the media when he helped a woman in Dublin to die. The Irish police unsuccessfully sought his extradition to stand trial for assisting a suicide. Ronson found that when mainstream right-to-die groups are pestered by clients who are not terminally ill, they eventually refer them to Exoo. He claims to have helped 102 people to die. Most of them were not terminally ill, just depressed or suffering from psychosomatic diseases.

The leading figure in Dutch euthanasia, Dr Pieter Admiraal, had harsh words about Exoo: "He is, in my opinion, enjoying the death of another person. And that’s dangerous. I have the strong impression that the wants to be there and see something dying."

Last year Exoo recruited an assistant, called Susan (a pseudonym), who accompanies his on his visits. She feels that he will commit suicide himself soon and she wants his client list. Unlike Exoo, who apparently makes very little money out of his vocation, she sees it as a business. "For me, it’s no cash, no help," she told Ronson. Susan has already helped a woman in New Zealand to die, to the exasperation of local right-to-die figures. "I imagine you are developing a good understanding of what an absolute mess the euthanasia underground is," Lesley Martin, who heads Dignity NZ. "Unfortunately there are ‘gung-ho’ individuals involved (ie, Susan) who, in my opinion, treat the matter of assisting someone to die as an exciting relief from the boredom of their own lives…" ~ Guardian, May 12