Friday, August 31, 2012

Facebook Bullying: The New Normal?

Pin It ***Warning! Some links contained in this post contain graphic images that will undoubtedly be considered offensive to anyone with an ounce of common decency. I refuse to show the actual pictures (except for one) because it turns my stomach to have to look at them.***

At what point did it become acceptable to plaster the Internet with memes about disabled children? Did I miss something here? I love a good meme as much as the next girl. They can be hilarious and for the most part harmless. They poke fun at public figures, slacktivist causes and other pop culture icons. I'm especially fond of the Gene Meme. You've all seen it. A picture of Gene Wilder looking on condescendingly while pretending interest in everything from Kony 2012 to Northface Jacket wearing suburbanites. Funny shit, it really is.

It stops being funny when the memes turn to ridiculing a 5 year old girls disability.


Adalia Rose is a child with a disease called Progeria. It is a genetic disorder that mimics the effects of aging, causing hair loss (alopecia), thickened skin (scleroderma) and often results in a failure to thrive. It causes her to have an almost alien like appearance: Large head, small features and she is also bald, cause you know, she didn't have enough going on. She might have small features but she has a huge heart.

She told her mother she wanted to be a star. Her mother, like the good woman she is, set about to do whatever she could to make her baby girls dream come true. She hit the Internet running and within a short period of time she was able to drum up a huge following of supporters for this spunky little girl. She has her own website, her own YouTube channel and over 4 million likes on Facebook. Not bad for someone who hasn't even been alive long enough to remember what life was like before Facebook.

Adalia Rose

It's what any one of us would have done right? You have a kid, you do whatever it takes to make them happy. Especially when that kid has the odds stacked so hard against her. Unfortunately, for every story of inspiration on the Internet, there is some bottom feeder looking for their fifteen minutes.

Enter Bree.

Bree (I will only use her first name as she is a minor) created a page called Adalia Rose Memes (link contains seriously offensive...everything. Definitely NSFW). She thought it might be a nice idea to take pictures of Adalia and post them with funny captions. Whats funnier than calling a five year old a whore? Calling her an alien? Really funny, at least I'm assuming she found them funny. Personally I thought they were pretty ignorant and hateful myself but hey, I'm no "comedian" as Bree refers to herself. I'm just a mom.

A mom with a lot of friends.

As most of you know I am a social media enthusiast, everyone knows it. I have been involved with the same core group of moms for three years. I haven't met any of them face to face but I have been there, in our groups/message boards/chat rooms, for the births of their children, through divorces and marriages and sadly through the loss of loved ones. We are tight. We fight with each other like sisters but when the chips are down we band together. It's a beautiful thing.

Do you really want to mess with someone who has over 200 sisters?

One of the mommas brought it to our attention that this Adalia Rose Memes page existed. Immediately we all went over and a few of us had words with the followers. No big deal. The problem was they weren't even a little bit abashed by the fact that they had been caught out doing this awful thing. They were PROUD of it. They truly believe that Adalia's mother is exploiting her so in protest they have created this page. That's their story and they're sticking to it. It's not OK to create a support page for your sick child but it is apparently perfectly acceptable to steal their pictures, slap vulgar captions on them and poke fun at their disability. The logic is astounding.

Wanna hear something even more astounding? I know you do.

Facebook, in it's wisdom, thinks it is perfectly acceptable too!

Sure, post a picture of your child breastfeeding and they drop the hammer faster than an auctioneer at Barrett Jackson but bullying a five year old? That's just good fun. These photos have been reported by all of our group members, on the basis that it violates Facebooks policies against hate speech. According to Zuckerberg's minions there is no hate speech. None of the photos have been removed and the page is still open for business. Never mind that this is being perpetrated against a disabled child, never mind that some of these memes are racist in nature. It's the Internet. Suck it up. Freedom of speech. Yay first amendment.

Freedom of speech? How about common decency?

Not offensive or racist at all *eyeroll*

A friend of the family broadcast an appeal to the haters on YouTube, to no avail. There were hate pages and ugly memes about Bree, which ironically were taken down faster than whores drawers. While we got a kick out of the poetic (karmic?) justice, slacktivism isn't really our style. Why flame someone on a website when you can go national? We are currently in talks with NBC, CBS and other news affiliates. They were repulsed by the fact that Facebook has let this go unchecked for as long as it has. We couldn't get through to the creator of the page or appeal to her nonexistent sense of decency so we are appealing to you faithful reader. One thing about us Internet moms, we don't take this kind of thing lying down. Don't let them get away with this, for Adalias sake. Protest this.

Sign this petition.

Report this page.

Contact your local news.

More importantly, teach your children that this is wrong. Where the hell are this girls parents? Do they think this is acceptable behavior?

Do you?

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Suzi Satterfield said...

I'm appalled. Bree's mother needs to put a metaphorical smackdown on her daughter. Kill her internet access until she learns how to be a decent human being. And then maybe take the time to wonder how her daughter managed to fail so horribly at humanity in the first place.

MamaZinga said...

I couldn't agree more Suzi. It's our responsibility as parents to ensure our children, especially minor children, treat others with respect and show compassion for people. Either they don't know or they don't care. If they don't know then it's high time they found out. If they don't care...well, lets just say it would explain a lot.

Unknown said...

Hey Bree're welcome :)

Geraldine Moorkens Byrne said...

Appalling. I've reported this page several times and been ignored by Facebook. Yes even in Ireland we have heard about Bree and her hate campaign against a five year old child! Way to go, Bree's parents.

Geraldine Moorkens Byrne said...

I've complained about this page to FB and been ignored. Yes, Bree's infamy as a bulky has spread internationally - well done Bree's parents. You must be so proud!