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Baby With Bong Protest Message

by Brett M. Christensen

Outline

Facebook message that features a young woman holding a bong to a baby’s mouth asks users to spread the photo so that the woman will not regain custody of the child. 

Brief Analysis

The photo is genuine although the bong does not appear to be lit. Back in 2012, police investigated the mother after seeing the photograph and reportedly found no signs of drug use in the woman’s home and no evidence that the child had actually been given marijuana. The child was at the center of an ongoing custody dispute. The image came from a Facebook page created by the th13-year-old daughter of a person involved in the dispute after a judge awarded the mother custody. The original page that featured the photograph was later taken down, but not before the photograph began circulating rapidly via Facebook posts and other social media messages.

Examples

Baby bong protest message 1

 

Baby bong protest message 2

Spread this photo like wild fire and try to make sure this pathetic woman doesn’t get her baby back a 2nd time.

 

Detailed Analysis

This message, which features an inflammatory photograph of a young mother holding a bong to the mouth of a baby cradled in her lap, began circulating via Facebook and other social networks in 2012. The message asks people to spread the photograph in the hope that the resulting publicity will cause authorities to remove the baby from the mother’s custody and not return her. Several years on, versions of the protest message continue to circulate. 
The photograph itself is genuine. And, of course, the act depicted is certainly reprehensible even if it was only staged as some manner of misguided joke.

However, the bong does not appear to be “working” at the time the photograph was taken. That is, there is no smoke in the bong. Moreover, even before the image went viral police had investigated and found no evidence that the baby had been exposed to marijuana.

The photograph was snapped several months before it began circulating online. An August 18, 2012 news report in Washington’s Wenatchee World states:

By the time the page went up, a Child Protective Services investigation — prompted when the photo was emailed anonymously to the agency last month — had already found no signs of drug use in the mother’s home and no evidence the baby had been exposed to marijuana.

In fact, the baby is at the center of an ongoing custody dispute. The photograph was featured on a Facebook page protesting a judge’s decision to return the baby to her mother. The page was created by the 13-year-old daughter of a woman who is close friends with the baby’s father.

The original page was later removed but not before the picture escaped its original context and began circulating as part of the above message and others. The image has now “gone viral” on the Internet.

In fact, both parents have admitted to prior drug use. However, the Wenatchee World article further notes:

But the CPS investigation found no evidence the mother’s home was unsafe for the baby, according to court records. The mother’s sworn affidavit said the agency found no issues at her home, and she passed a urinalysis requested by investigators. She asked the court to appoint an independent guardian ad litem to ensure the baby’s needs were being met.

 

A second urine screening later that month was also negative, and in Allan’s court the mother agreed to take parenting classes and meet a schedule of further drug testing. Her attorney, Neil Fuller of Wenatchee, said hair follicles taken from the baby’s head also showed no trace of pot exposure.

This sort of online activism as inappropriate and unlikely to help procure the best outcome for the pictured child. For more detailed information about the case and the photograph please refer to the Wenatchee World news report.



Importance Notice

After considerable thought and with an ache in my heart, I have decided that the time has come to close down the Hoax-Slayer website.

These days, the site does not generate enough revenue to cover expenses, and I do not have the financial resources to sustain it going forward.

Moreover, I now work long hours in a full-time and physically taxing job, so maintaining and managing the website and publishing new material has become difficult for me.

And finally, after 18 years of writing about scams and hoaxes, I feel that it is time for me to take my fingers off the keyboard and focus on other projects and pastimes.

When I first started Hoax-Slayer, I never dreamed that I would still be working on the project all these years later or that it would become such an important part of my life. It's been a fantastic and engaging experience and one that I will always treasure.

I hope that my work over the years has helped to make the Internet a little safer and thwarted the activities of at least a few scammers and malicious pranksters.

A Big Thank You

I would also like to thank all of those wonderful people who have supported the project by sharing information from the site, contributing examples of scams and hoaxes, offering suggestions, donating funds, or helping behind the scenes.

I would especially like to thank David White for his tireless contribution to the Hoax-Slayer Facebook Page over many years. David's support has been invaluable, and I can not thank him enough.

Closing Date

Hoax-Slayer will still be around for a few weeks while I wind things down. The site will go offline on May 31, 2021. While I will not be publishing any new posts, you can still access existing material on the site until the date of closure.

Thank you, one and all!

Brett Christensen,
Hoax-Slayer