Creator of Video Suggesting Barron Trump Is Autistic Is on the Spectrum -- Still Not OK


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Historically, criticizing the children of elected officials has been off-limits, but after this year's polarizing election one boy has become the subject of speculation that has forced his mother to threaten legal action. Melania Trump has retained an attorney to set the record straight and remove a #StoptheBullying video that suggests her son, Barron, is autistic. As her attorney points out, this video, ironically, is more harmful than helpful. 

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Longtime Trump adversary Rosie O'Donnell took to Twitter to share YouTube user James Hunter's seven-minute video, which splices together clips of the 10-year-old exhibiting what some might consider "autistic" behavior. 

It's no wonder Melania is upset. As her lawyer Charles J. Harder told US Weekly the video "is a form of harassment and bullying." After stating that Barron is not autistic, he added, "The video includes the hashtag 'StopTheBullying’' but yet the video itself is bullying by making false statements and speculation about a 10-year-old boy for the purpose of harassing him and his parents. The online bullying of children, including Barron Trump, should end now."

We couldn't agree more. 

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Hunter, who is on the autism spectrum himself, has agreed to remove the video and extended his apologies to both Melania and Barron. On his YouTube page, he attempted to explain what made him create the video in the first place. He wrote: 

I just want to repeat myself and say that I never ever meant this as a bullying video. As someone who was diagnosed at age 5 and has gone through bullying myself, I would NEVER do something like that. I made this because I truly believed Barron was on the spectrum, and I wanted people to stop bullying him over his 'weird' behavior and explain to them that it might actually be due to a condition.

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Quite frankly, as a mom of three boys, ages 9 to 14, I think Barron has handled himself like a champ through the never-ending campaign season. When I watched clips of this 10-year-old struggling to keep his eyes open at 3 a.m. during his father's acceptance speech, I was amazed.

My 11-year-old would've either collapsed (dramatically) on the stage from exhaustion or been jumping up and down requesting caramel lattes and cans of Red Bull to make it through the evening. I can easily picture him and his brothers pretending to hang themselves with their ties if they were forced to sit through those conventions that Barron endured. Chances are, my kids would have snuck in their smart phones and ignored history in the making. And, boy, would social media have had a field day with that behavior! 

If Barron did have condition, it would be no one's business but his and his family's. What people are forgetting is that this is a 10-year-old boy who would probably rather be a hundred other places instead of some of the events he's been dragged to, so let's not analyze his every move when he never asked to be in the spotlight in the first place. 

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The other unfortunate piece to come out of this is that what O'Donnell has also done, whether intentionally or not, is to make it seem like being on the autism spectrum is something to be ashamed of. Because of her hatred for Barron's dad, one can't help but think her attempt to "out" his child is a clear shot at his family as well as those who live with the condition that typically impacts communication and socialization.

There is nothing dishonorable about having the disorder which affects millions of children, adults, and their families. But O'Donnell's callous Tweet makes it seem somehow contemptible and that in itself is shameful.  

According to a letter from Melania's lawyer, obtained by TMZ, the First Lady-elect isn't planning to sue O'Donnell. It sounds to me like Melania's taking the high road here. Maybe it's because she realizes autism is nothing to be ashamed of, but gossiping and speculating about the mental health of a child certainly is. 

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