A Motivational speaker with a rare genetic condition pleaded with parents to stop an insensitive Tik Tok prank
Motivational speaker Lizzie Velásquez, 31 condemned the #facetimeprank Tik Tok trend, where parents were showing their children pictures of a disabled person just to get a reaction out of them.
Velásquez herself has a rare genetic condition called Marfanoid–progeroid–lipodystrophy syndrome where she is unable to gain weight. She was cruelly deemed the 'world's ugliest woman' at the age of 17 and has since then become an anti-bullying activist and author.
She believed that this kind of trend on Tik Tok promoted intolerance towards disabled people amongst young, impressionable children and encouraged ableism. She took to Tik Tok to share her view on the situation and said: “If you are an adult who has a young human in your life, please do not teach them that being scared of someone who doesn't look like them is okay. Please. Everything that these kids need to know about empathy and being kind to one another starts at home.”
The video she was specifically responding to was that of a mother showing her son a picture of Velásquez, telling him that she was going to be his teacher for the upcoming school year. The son had a visibly scared reaction to the picture too.
Velásquez even posted the video on her Instagram to raise awareness and said: “Showing your kids a photo of someone who looks different in hopes of them having a scared reaction is vile.”
View this post on Instagram
I knew this was coming. When I saw this trend start I knew it was coming. Some have been cute and funny but then it starts to cross the line. Showing your kids a photo of someone who looks different in hopes of them having a scared reaction is vile. I’ve seen this trend be done with people who are disabled and I’ve seen this trend be done with BABIES who have Down Syndrome. They don’t have the platform to speak on this but I do and I know I have an army of positive people right next to me. I will say this over and over and over. The people you put in photos or videos are human beings!! We have feelings and we have something we work on everyday called self confidence. Please PLEASE don’t teach your children that it’s funny to be afraid of someone who doesn’t look like them. When adults are upset their kids are being bullied, this is the perfect example that teaching kindness and acceptance starts AT HOME. Just be kind to one another. We need it now more than ever!!
Velásquez has even reached out to YouTubers like Charli D'Amelio and Addison Rae to spread awareness on this issue. Since the video was posted it has received more than 11.4 million views just on twitter and 711K views on Tik Tok.
People have even left comments on her video on Tik Tok, twitter and Instagram supporting what she said:
Damn, I had a few laughs with those videos but didn't see it from her standpoint which is completely true. https://t.co/kporG1eaAS— J (@jhoseel) August 9, 2020
This is such a powerful and compelling message. Thank you so much for saying this. This resonated with me so much. Those of us who are fighting for #disability rights are battling stigma in our own lives every day. Thank you for reminding people of that.— Victoria Brownworth #SaveTheUSPS (@VABVOX) August 10, 2020
What do you think about the #facetimeprank?
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