Texas Mom Defends Son Against Offensive Internet Meme
(ABC News) — A Texas mom is fighting back after discovering a mean-spirited meme of her 4-year-old son online.
“It’s basically making fun of the way he looks,” AliceAnn Meyer of San Antonio told ABC News today. “The first time I saw it I just kind of looked at it and said ‘It’s not even funny.’ Someone actually took the time to sit down and [create] it and I don’t understand that. I was shocked, for sure.”
Meyer, 35, said her son Jameson was diagnosed with Pfeiffer syndrome, also referred to as craniofacial syndrome. The rare genetic disorder impacts growth of the bones in the skull, hands and feet.
“There are three types of Pfeiffer syndrome and it depends on the child itself,” she said. “In Jameson’s case, he’s got type 1, so neurologically he’s 100 percent normal. He’s delayed in speech and he’s got some hearing loss, but his communication is normal. Just expressively, he’s delayed.”
Despite his disorder, Jameson acts like any typical 4-year-old, Meyer said.
“He’s a little prankster,” she said. “He’s very mischievous. He loves to get a laugh out of people. We hear from his teachers and therapist how much he plays jokes and he’s just a super fun kid.”
On Jan. 30, Meyer said she was corresponding in a Pfeiffer syndrome Facebook support group when she got wind of a profanity-laced meme that had surfaced of her son.
She believes “Internet trolls” lifted the photo without permission from a 2014 blog she wrote about Jameson titled: “He’s Not Scary, He’s a Little Boy.”
As the meme circulated, Meyer said she reported the incident to Instagram, Twitter and Facebook. According to Meyer, the social media sites removed the meme 24 hours later; however, other Internet users have since re-posted the meme.
Twitter said it does not comment on individual accounts.
ABC News has also reached out to Facebook and Instagram.
Facebook and Instagram have not yet responded to ABC News’ request for comment.
“His face was everywhere and I thought it was a great opportunity to say ‘This is my son and this is who he is and this is what he has,'” Meyer said. “I can’t stop people from doing horrible things, but if his face is out there, I may as well make it for good rather than bad.”
In an effort to raise awareness on bullying and Pfeiffer syndrome, Meyer wrote a post for her blog, Jameson’s Journey, titled: “This Is My Son Jameson, And No, You May Not Use His Photo.”
“Exactly one week ago I spent my Saturday night fighting an individual to remove my son’s photo from his Facebook page, where it had been liked 5,000 times and shared nearly 3,000,” Meyer wrote. “It was no easy feat and took 100’s, maybe even 1,000’s of reports being submitted, an army of people fighting with me. So, to everyone that ‘LOL’d,’ shared, and posted that meme, let me start by introducing you to the child you find so funny. His name is Jameson. He is very real, and he was born with Pfeiffer syndrome.”
Meyer ended her post by informing readers what it’s like to live with Pfeiffer syndrome.
“Some of the moms in my [Facebook] group have been thanking me and I just want to say that Jameson’s not the only one that gets targeted,” Meyer said. “If I do something now and go through the process of standing up for him, then the more encounters I have, the better I get at talking to people. If someone wants to take his photo again, I’ll continue to fight and I’ll just keep using it to raise awareness.”
Meyer said she supports Choose Kind, an online campaign that’s dedicated to raising awareness of Internet bullying.