The endless back-and-forth has now spread to include Trump’s wife, Melania, and their 10-year-old son Barron. Melania is threatening to sue a YouTube user who created a video speculating that Barron has autism. (The video was removed from YouTube on Tuesday.)
So what does O’Donnell have to do with this? Last week, the TV personality and former talk show host posted a tweet (now deleted) linking directly to the video; she also hinted at the possibility that Barron has autism. Here’s a screengrab of her tweet:
“This law firm represents first lady-elect Melania Trump and her 10-year-old son, Barron Trump,” lawyer Charles Harder told The Hollywood Reporter.
“A video was posted at YouTube recently speculating that Barron might be autistic. He is not,” continued Harder. “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.”
TMZ reports that a letter written by Harder to the celebrity news site also refers to O’Donnell as a bully in this situation.
“The video did instigate further bullying by Rosie O’Donnell and others,” Harder allegedly wrote.
The video, which is still live, delves into the “symptoms” of autism, and how Barron displayed many of them at the recent Republican National Convention. Among them are erratic clapping, “wobbly” walking and an aversion to being touched. It doesn’t address the fact that Barron is only 10 years old and was quickly thrust into the very bright glare of American politics, which could easily cause unusual behaviour and methods of coping.
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As of this writing, the seven-minute video has almost four million views. Melania wants the video taken down and is seeking a full apology. There has been no mention (yet) of monetary damages being sought by the Trumps. There are also no reports of O’Donnell being sued for her tweet.
More than 3.5 million Americans currently live with an autism spectrum disorder, and the prevalence of autism in American children increased by 119.4 per cent from 2000 to 2010: the chances of being born with autism have shot up from 1 in 150 to 1 in 68, according to the Autism Society. The likelihood is just as high in Canada, and it’s the fastest growing and most commonly diagnosed neurological disorder in the country, says Autism Speaks Canada.