A mother who adopted black children has spoken out after she received a barrage of online abuse. Marriage and marital therapist, Kristen Howerton from California, was targeted by white supremacists after she gave her children black American Girl dolls and uploaded the clip on YouTube.
Howerton lives on the West Coast in the US with her husband and their two white biological daughters and two adopted black sons. Initially the video received little attention, but traffic suddenly began increasing, Howerton wrote on her blog, Rage Against the Minivan.
"I was getting daily, and then hourly, comments about how disgusting I was, how my boys were going to kill me, how they would rape my daughters...all kinds of vile hate," the mother-of-four posted.
The comments came thick and fast, with Howerton noting that her Twitter account "looked like the NYSE [New York Stock Exchange] ticker" rather than a social media account. She said the most common themes were:
- I'm disgusting
- I'm teaching my white kids to hate themselves
- I'm probably Jewish
- I'm probably cheating on my husband with a black man
- My black children will sexually assault their siblings
Howerton added that the comments overwhelmingly came from men. Her post caught the attention of Swedish group "myth challenger", which recently uploaded videos of "what really happened at Auschwitz" and "identical twin studies prove homosexuality is not genetic." The group went on to use extracts from Howerton's video and expressed conflicting views, which led to the torrent of abuse directed at her.
Speaking to the New York Times, Howerton said: "Many people's response has been, you put your kids on the Internet, so..." Some Twitter accounts have been suspended over the abuse and she has asked YouTube to remove the video which uses commentary and images of her family.