- YouTuber Myka Stauffer and her husband James, who adopted an autistic boy from China in 2017, announced that they have decided to permanently place the toddler with a new adoptive family.
- In their announcement video, the couple said medical professionals and the adoption agency felt it was best to find a better fit for the boy after several evaluations.
- However, many people are outraged by the decision, accusing the family of exploiting the child and his story for sponsorships and monetized videos, then giving up on him because of his special needs.
The Stauffer’s Announcement
A YouTube couple has been flooded with criticism since announcing that they have permanently placed their autistic 4-year-old in another home, after adopting him from china years ago.
Myka Stauffer runs a YouTube channel with over 700,000 subscribers where she posts videos about home organization, her experience as a mother, and more. She also posts vlogs on a separate family channel that has over 300,000 subscribers.
For years Myka and her husband James have shared intimate details about their lives as parents, from pregnancies to births and beyond. One of the most emotional experiences they’ve shared has been their international adoption journey. But the couple shocked fans Tuesday when they confirmed that their 4-year-old son Huxley had been placed with a new adoptive family.
The Stauffer’s adopted Huxley from China in October 2017, and the video of him being brought home is actually the most viewed video on Myka’s channel, with over 5.5 million views.
But in their tearful video update, James said that Huxley has been in numerous therapy treatments over the last few years to help with his severe special needs. Myka has previously said he has reactive attachment disorder and level 3 autism, though the adoption agency initially told her he had brain damage and a brain tumor.
According to James, over the last year specifically, Huxley’s therapy sessions have been more intense.
“After multiple assessments, after multiple evaluations, multiple medical professionals had felt that he needed a different fit and that his medical needs…he needed more,” Myka explained.
Fans have been asking about Huxley for months, as he hasn’t appeared on any of their social media posts. Some have even made Instagram accounts dedicated to finding answers about his whereabouts.
So as far as why they have waited to announce the news, James said, “It’s because we’ve been trying to protect his privacy, his rights, and also just try to not mess up his future that was laid out in front of us. We’re trying to just make sure we don’t impact that at all when making this video.”
Myka also explained that she tried to share as little as she could about Huxley’s situation because of this. “Anything that happened in the home that was hard for Hux, that’s not fair for me to put there publicly. That’s his privacy. So we’re not going to talk about that. It’s not appropriate and it’ll never be appropriate. I didn’t adopt a little boy to share these things publicly.”
She also said that they’ve waited to talk about this because medical professionals have been allowing Huxley to spend time with different people to help him find his “new forever family.” Based on the updates they’ve received, it appears that Huxley is now in a home that the adoption agency feels is the best fit, with a parent who has medical professional training.
Still, the couple said they’re grieving and tried to help him as much as possible because they never wanted to be in this position. “Do I feel like a failure as a mom? Like 500 percent,” Myka said.
“So when I get like insidious, hurtful comments, it just really makes it hurt worse. It’s not about me at all, but it’s just like this journey, the last couple months, has been like the hardest thing I could’ve ever imagine going to – choosing to do.”
The couple closed by asking their followers to respect their privacy and understand that they are hurting, even if they are seen on social media in positive spirits.
So after this news was announced, many people took to the comments section and social media sites to expressed sadness for Huxley. However, plenty of people also slammed the couple for their decision.
“I’m sorry but you did fail as a mum. You wouldn’t have given up your own child,” one commenter wrote.
“Autistic children aren’t puppies. They don’t have ‘forever families.’ They don’t get ‘rehomed.’ They get abandoned,” another Twitter user said.
On top of that, there are a ton of people who feel that the couple exploited Huxley for their channel, pointing to the fact that they monetized adoption videos and took sponsorships for them.
Now, some are calling for the family to take all videos of Huxley down, while others are sharing a change.org petition asking YouTube to remove monetization from those videos.
According to Myka’s channel, she has shared 27 videos about their adoption journey, which included updates and Q&A about the process. The vlog channel currently has no content on it, though it’s unclear if videos were recently changed to private following all of the outrage.
To understand what people are now questioning the family’s ethics for, some are pointing to a sponsored video where proceeds were supposed to be “going towards bringing our SON home from China!”
In other videos, Myka promoted a fundraiser for helping Huxley’s needs. And in a 2017 video, she said every person who donated $5 would unlock a different piece of a 1,000-piece puzzle, which would, at the end, be a photo of Huxley that she would reveal to the world. She also said she would write the names of all donors in his baby book.
Others have slammed Myka because she was viewed as an adoption advocate who wrote for parenting blogs and magazines.
Meanwhile, others noted she regularly posted things suggesting she wouldn’t trade Huxley for anything.
There is a screenshot of a pinned YouTube comment that was allegedly written by Myka circulating online, however, that comment is not currently pinned under her video so it cannot be confirmed as real.
But it says that the family, “would never just give up a child with special needs, this is a personal matter to Hux it had nothing to do with he just had Autism.”
“Multiple scary things happened inside the home towards our other children, if these events happened with one of my biological kids, after all the help and after the behaviors we witnessed sadly we would have no other choice then to seek help and get their needs met.”
The comment claims that Huxley “wanted this decision 100%,” adding, “We sat that in family time with other people, he constantly choose them and signed and showed tons of emotion to show us and let us know he wanted this.”
As of now, there have been no further statements about the announcement, and the adoption videos still appear on Myka’s YouTube channel. Myka has not returned Rogue Rocket’s request for a comment on the issue.
TikTok and Twitter Are Now Deleting Videos That Expose Closeted Olympians on Grindr
On top of outing people who may not be ready to have their sexuality revealed to the world, these videos could have endangered LGBTQ+ athletes from countries where homosexuality is illegal.
Closeted Olympians Being Doxxed
Openly LGBTQ+ Olympians are currently more visible than they have ever been before, but unfortunately, so are closeted ones.
That’s because some people have been using the LGBTQ+ dating app Grindr to try and find Olympians. They’ve been doing so by using the app’s “Explore” feature, which allows people to search and see users in specific locations (ie. Olympic Village).
But some aren’t content with just discovering which athletes belong to the LGBTQ+ community. They’re also sharing that information on platforms like TikTok and Twitter.
“I used Grindr’s explore feature to find myself [an] Olympian boyfriend,” one TikTok user said in a post that had been viewed 140,000 times, according to Insider.
That video reportedly went on to show the poster scrolling through Grindr to expose over 30 users’ full faces.
As many have argued, not only does this potentially out already-stressed Olympians who may not yet be comfortable sharing their sexuality, it also could put some users at serious risk if they live in countries where being LGBTQ+ is illegal.
In fact, the video cited by Insider seemingly did just that, as it reportedly shows the face of a user who appears to be from a country “known for its anti-LGBTQ policies.”
Grindr Responds, TikTok and Twitter Take Action
In response, Grindr said the posts violate its rules against “publicly displaying, publishing, or otherwise distributing any content or information” from the app. It then asked the posters to remove the content.
Ultimately, it was TikTok and Twitter themselves that largely took action, with the two deleting at least 14 posts scattered across their platforms.
Twitter says it’s taking steps to remove the posts flagged by Insider showing Grindr’s explore page at the Olympic Village. TikTok has yet to give an on the record response. pic.twitter.com/r11pNL6Lwu— Benjamin Goggin (@BenjaminGoggin) July 28, 2021
A Highly-Visible LGBTQ+ Presence at the Games
According to Outsports, at least 172 of around 11,000 Olympians are openly LGBTQ+. While that number is still well below the statistical average, it’s triple the number of LGBTQ+ athletes that attended Rio’s 2016 Games.
In fact, if they were their own country, openly LGBTQ+ athletes would reportedly rank 11th in medals, according to an Outsports report published Tuesday.
Among those winners is British diver Tom Daley, who secured his first gold medal on Monday and used his platform to send a hopeful message to LGBTQ+ youth by telling them, “You are not alone.”
After winning a silver medal on Wednesday, U.S. swimmer Erica Sullivan talked about her experience as both a member of the LGBTQ+ community and a person of color.
Still, the Olympics has faced criticism for its exclusion of intersex individuals, particularly those like South African middle-distance runner Caster Semenya, who won gold medals in both 2012 and 2016. Rules implemented in 2019 now prevent Semenya from competing as a woman without the use of medication to suppress her testosterone levels.
Jake Paul Launches Anti-Bullying Charity
The charity, called Boxing Bullies, aims to use the sport to give kids confidence and courage.
Jake Paul Launches Boxing Bullies Foundation
YouTuber Jake Paul — best known as the platform’s boxer, wreckless partier, and general troublemaker — has seemingly launched a non-profit to combat bullying.
The charity is called Boxing Bullies. According to a mission statement posted on Instagram, it aims to “instill self confidence, leadership, and courage within the youth through the sport of boxing while using our platform, voice, and social media to fight back against bullying.”
If the notion of a Paul-founded anti-bullying charity called “Boxing Bullies” was not already begging to be compared to former First Lady Melania Trump’s “Best Best” initiative, maybe the group’s “Boxing Bullies Commandments” will help connect the dots. Those commandments use an acronym for the word “BOX” to spell out the charity’s golden rules.
“Be kind to everyone; Only defend, never initiate; X-out bullying.”
Paul Hopes To “Inspire” Kids To Stand Up For Themselves
Paul first said he was launching Boxing Bullies during a July 13 interview following a press conference for his upcoming fight against Tyron Woodley.
“I know who I am at the end of the day, which is a good person,” he told reporters. “I’m trying to change this sport, bring more eyeballs. I’m trying to support other fighters, increase fighter pay. I’m starting my charity, I’m launching that in 12 days here called Boxing Bullies and we’re helping to fight against cyberbullying.”
It has not been quite 12 days since the interview, so it’s likely that more information about the organization will be coming soon. Currently, the group has been the most active on Instagram, where it boasts a following of just around 1,200 followers. It has posted once to Twitter, where it has 32 followers; and has a TikTok account that has yet to publish any content. It also has a website, though there is not too much on it as of yet.
On its Instagram, one post introducing Paul as the founder claims the rowdy YouTuber started this charity because he has been on the receiving end of bullying.
“Having been a victim of bullying himself, Jake experienced firsthand the impact it has on a person’s life,” the post says. “Jake believes that this is a prevailing issue in society that isn’t talked about enough. Boxing gave Jake the confidence to not care about what others think and he wants to share the sport and the welfare it‘s had on him with as many kids as possible.”
It adds that he hopes his group can“inspire the next generation of kids to be leaders, be athletes, and to fight back against bullying.”
Paul Previously Accused of Being a Bully
While fighting against bullying is a noble cause, it is an ironic project for Paul to start, as he has faced no shortage of bullying accusations. While Paul previously sang about “stopping kids from getting bullied” in the lunchroom, some have alleged he himself was actually a classic high school bully who threw kids’ backpacks into garbage cans.
This behavior allegedly continued into his adulthood, as a New York Times report from earlier this year claimed he ran his Team 10 house with a culture of toxicity and bullying. Among other things, sources said he involved others in violent pranks, pressured people into doing dangerous stunts, and destroyed peoples’ personal property to make content.
See what others are saying: (Dexerto)
Director Defends Recreating Anthony Bourdain’s Voice With AI in New Documentary
The film’s director claims he received permission from Bourdain’s estate and literary agent, but on Thursday, Bourdain’s widow publicly denied ever giving that permission.
Bourdain’s Voice Recreated
“You are successful, and I am successful, and I’m wondering: Are you happy?” Anthony Bourdain says in a voiceover featured in “Roadrunnner,” a newly released documentary about the late chef — except Bourdain never actually said those words aloud.
Instead, it’s one of three lines in the film, which features frequent voiceovers from Bourdain, that were created through the use of artificial intelligence technology.
That said, the words are Bourdain’s own. In fact, they come from an email Bourdain reportedly wrote to a friend prior to his 2018 suicide. Nonetheless, many have now questioned whether recreating Bourdain’s voice was ethical, especially since documentaries are meant to reflect reality.
Director Defends Use of AI Voice
The film’s director, Academy Award winner Morgan Neville, has defended his use of the synthetic voice, telling Variety that he received permission from Bourdain’s estate and literary agent before inserting the lines into the film.
“There were a few sentences that Tony wrote that he never spoke aloud,” Neville said. “It was a modern storytelling technique that I used in a few places where I thought it was important to make Tony’s words come alive.”
Bourdain’s widow — Ottavia Bourdain, who is the executor of his estate — later denied Neville’s claim on Twitter, saying, “I certainly was NOT the one who said Tony would have been cool with that.”
In another interview with GQ, Neville described the process, saying the film’s creators “fed more than ten hours of Tony’s voice into an AI model.”
“The bigger the quantity, the better the result,” he added. “We worked with four companies before settling on the best.”
“If you watch the film,” Neville told The New Yorker, “you probably don’t know what the other lines are that were spoken by the AI, and you’re not going to know. We can have a documentary-ethics panel about it later.”
The Ethics Debate Isn’t Being Tabled
But many want to have that discussion now.
Boston-based film critic Sean Burns, who gave the film a rare negative review, later criticized it again for its unannounced use of AI, saying he wasn’t aware that Bourdain’s voice had been recreated until after he watched the documentary.
Meanwhile, The New Yorker’s Helen Rosner wrote that the “seamlessness of the effect is eerie.”
“If it had been a human voice double I think the reaction would be “huh, ok,” but there’s something truly unsettling about the idea of it coming from a computer,” Rosner later tweeted.
Online, many others have criticized the film’s use of AI, with some labeling it as a “deepfake.”
Others have offered more mixed criticism, saying that while the documentary highlights the need for posthumous AI use to be disclosed, it should not be ruled out altogether.
“In a world where the living could consent to using AI to reproduce their voices posthumously, and where people were made aware that such a technology was being used, up front and in advance, one could envision that this kind of application might serve useful documentary purposes,” David Leslie, ethics lead at the Alan Turing Institute, told the BBC.
Celebrities Recreated After Death
The posthumous use of celebrity likeness in media is not a new debate. In 2012, a hologram of Tupac took the stage 15 years after his death. In 2014, the Billboard Music Awards brought a hologram of Michael Jackson onstage five years after his death. Meanwhile, the Star Wars franchise digitally recreated actor Peter Cushing in 2016’s “Rogue One,” and unused footage of actress Carrie Fisher was later translated into “The Rise of Skywalker,” though a digital version of Fisher was never used.
In recent years, it has become almost standard for filmmakers to say that they will not create digital versions of characters whose actors die unexpectedly. For example, several months after Chadwick Boseman’s death last year, “Black Panther: Wakanda Forever” executive producer Victoria Alonso confirmed Boseman would not be digitally recreated for his iconic role as King T’Challa.