Future First Lady Melania Trump is taking action to remove a video from the Internet that questions whether her 10-year-old son Barron is autistic — and has slammed Rosie O’Donnell as a “bully” for sharing the video on social media.
On November 11, YouTube user James Hunter posted a video entitled, “Is Barron Trump Autistic? #StopTheBullying,” which has since been viewed nearly four million times. The video speculates that President-elect Donald Trump’s son could be autistic because he was making “strange movements in his seat” and exhibited “anti-social” behavior while onstage during his father’s acceptance speech on Election Night.
The video had received little attention until last week, when comedian Rosie O’Donnell — who has feuded openly with Donald Trump for years — shared it on her Twitter account.
According to TMZ, an attorney retained by Melania Trump has sent a letter to the video’s creator ordering him to take it down or else face legal action.
In a statement to Gossip Cop on Monday, Hunter — who claims he himself is autistic — said he “never meant to hurt” the Trump family and that he had intended for the video to combat bullying.
“I was just sending it privately to people who were bullying him to explain to them that Barron might be autistic, and that’s 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 told the outlet.
Hunter indicated he would take the video down if asked, however the video remained active on YouTube as of Tuesday afternoon.
The letter from Melania Trump’s attorney, Charles J. Harder, claims the video actually made the bullying of her son worse, particularly after O’Donnell tweeted it out to her nearly 1 million followers.
“The video allegedly seeks to ‘stop the bullying’ of Barron Trump. Not true,” the letter reads, according to TMZ. “The video did instigate further bullying by Rosie O’Donnell and others.”
O’Donnell’s tweet set off a firestorm of controversy, with many social media users lashing out at the 54-year-old comedian for spreading rumors about the health of Trump’s 10-year-old son.
O’Donnell deleted the tweet, but later defended it in a poem posted on her website.
Meanwhile, Hunter says he’s “been in contact with Melania Trump’s lawyer. This video will be deleted in 24 hours and I will publish a full retraction and apology to Melania and Barron Trump.”
Update: Hunter pulled the video in question from YouTube on Tuesday afternoon and posted a video apology to the Trump family.
“It was incredibly irresponsible of me to diagnose Barron Trump using a selection of misleading videos,” he said in a statement. “My video was originally intended as an anti-bullying video, as I myself suffer from autism and wanted to educate people. Unfortunately, I completely misdiagnosed a person and ended up making a video that was false, defamatory and malicious.”
“I retract every single statement I made in that horrendous video, and want to sincerely apologize to the Trump family, especially to Melania and Barron Trump,” he added. “I wish your family nothing but good luck, safety, and love, as you prepare to become the next First Family of the United States.”