James Hunter, a Youtube user, posted a video to that site on Nov. 11 titled “Is Barron Trump Autistic?” The video — highly irresponsible and speculative, to say the least — claimed that President-Elect Donald Trump’s 10-year-old son might be autistic because of his seemingly anti-social public behaviors.
When actress Rosie O’Donnell saw the video, she tweeted it to her nearly one million Twitter followers — causing it to go viral. It’s been viewed nearly four million times.
Now, America’s future first lady, Melania Trump, has taken swift action by hiring a lawyer and setting out to end the bullying against her son. A letter from Melania Trump’s lawyer, Charles J. Harder, said the video constituted “bullying” and name-checked O’Donnell for feeding the flames and refusing to apologize for her part in the debacle.
“The video allegedly seeks to ‘stop the bullying’ of Barron Trump. Not true … The video did instigate further bullying by Rosie O’Donnell and others,” the letter states, according to TMZ.
O’Donnell’s retweeting of the video and her questioning of the health of Barron Trump ignited a highly public controversy. The actress refused to apologize and released a statement to her website that took swipes at the president-elect and claimed she had only good intentions.
In a Monday statement released through Gossip Cop, Hunter, the original video poster, said he never meant for the video to have the popularity it did or for O’Donnell to become involved. “I was just sending it privately to people who were bullying him to explain to them that Barron might be autistic, and that it isn’t okay to bully him for it, because I know what it’s like to be bullied for being autistic. But then Rosie O’Donnell shared it and it blew up,” Hunter said.
Hunter has since removed the video and posted an official apology to his account. “It was incredibly irresponsible of me to diagnose Barron Trump using a selection of misleading videos,” the text of the apology reads, which plays as slow music covers the video’s background.
The video explains that the video snippets of Barron Trump were taken out of context from times when the boy was sometimes up at 3 a.m. during the election season. Hunter calls his original claims “100 percent false.”
Harder, Melania Trump’s attorney, on Tuesday afternoon said in a statement to Us Weekly, “The video regarding Barron Trump has been removed, and the person who posted it has retracted it and apologized for it, at the same YouTube page.”