Society

Melania Trump Threatens Lawsuit Over Autism Video

| by Robert Fowler

Incoming first lady Melania Trump was reportedly outraged by a viral video that suggested her son, 10-year-old Barron Trump, was on the autism spectrum. The video's uploader has promised to take the video down after being threatened with a lawsuit.

The saga began on Nov. 22, when comedian Rosie O'Donnell retweeted a YouTube video that implied President-elect Donald Trump's son, Barron, was autistic, based on his awkward clapping at the Republican National Convention, according to TMZ.

"Barron Trump Autistic?" O'Donnell tweeted. "If so -- what an amazing opportunity to bring attention to the AUTISM epidemic."

The video had made the assertion that Barron was autistic and called on social media users to refrain from bullying him. O'Donnell drew immediate criticism for circulating the unverified diagnosis of a child.

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O'Donnell defended her tweet by writing a poem on her blog, explaining that she wanted to draw attention to the issue because one of her children was diagnosed with autism in September, according to the Independent Journal Review.

O'Donnell wrote, "i tweeted from my heart / it would help so much with the autism epidemic."

Melania Trump was reportedly furious at both O'Donnell and the viral video for implying her son was autistic and hired attorney Charles Harder to file a lawsuit against the video's uploader, James Hunter.

"A video was posted at YouTube recently speculating that Barron might be autistic," Harder told The Wrap. "He is not. The video contains the hashtag 'StopTheBullying' but yet the video itself is bullying by making false statements and speculation about a 10-year-old boy for the purposes of harassing him and his parents. The online bullying of children, including Barron Trump, should end now."

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Melania Trump issued a letter demanding that Hunter take down the video and apologize or face a lawsuit.

On Nov. 28, Hunter issued a statement expressing alarm that the Trumps were threatening legal action against him. The YouTube uploader revealed that he is autistic and asserted that he did not mean to bully Barron.

"I truly believed Barron was on the [autism 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," Hunter said

Hunter added that he would delete the video to avoid a lawsuit.

"I have a great respect for [Melania Trump] and her family," Hunter said. "I never meant to hurt anyone."

Sources: Independent Journal ReviewTMZThe Wrap / Photo credit: Disney | ABC Television/Flickr

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