After an onslaught of criticism, the musician and podcaster dad who became known on Twitter simply as “Bean Dad” has apologized for and deleted his viral thread about his daughter struggling with a can opener for six hours.
On Tuesday, Seattle’s John Roderick posted an apology on his website explaining to readers that his thread had been “poorly told” and reflecting on how it “reminded people very viscerally of abuse they’d experienced at the hand of a parent.”
“I was ignorant, insensitive to the message that my ‘pedant dad’ comedic persona was indistinguishable from how abusive dads act, talk and think,” he wrote.
“I woke up yesterday to find that I had become #BeanDad. I was a locus for a tremendous outpouring of anger and grief. It took me hours to fully grasp. I reread the story and saw clearly that I’d framed it so poorly, so insensitively. Bean Dad, full of braggadocio and dickhead swagger, was hurting people. I’d conjured an abusive parent that many people recognized from real life.”
Roderick said he is “deeply sorry” for his words and wishes “no one had to grow up with a parent who tortured them physically or emotionally.”
“I would never intentionally make light of those experiences and I’ll never underestimate again the pain I can cause with some poorly chosen words and by acting defensively when challenged,” he wrote.
Roderick’s apology comes after he penned an extensive Twitter thread over the weekend about his daughter discovering a can opener and finding herself unable to figure out how to use it. Instead of immediately showing his child how to configure the gadget, he insisted the she figure it out herself and watched as she did so for hours on end.
“So, yesterday my daughter was hungry and I was doing a jigsaw puzzle so I said over my shoulder, ‘Make some baked beans,’” wrote Roderick in the first tweet of the now-deleted thread. “She said, ‘How?’ like all kids do when they want YOU to do it, so I said, ‘Open a can and put it in pot.’ She brought me the can and said “Open it how?”
Roderick wrote that he insisted she “study the parts, study the can, figure out what the can opener inventor was thinking when they tried to solve this problem” and told her: “Sweetheart, neither of us will eat another bite today until we get into this can of beans.”
The culmination of the thread is that, after “six hours on and off,” the daughter ultimately gets the can of beans open. In response to the thread, Twitter quickly exploded with critiques of Roderick’s parenting. What he called a “teaching opportunity” was lambasted as a “abuse,” “ridiculous,” and “unhinged.”
Hours after the thread went viral, old tweets from Roderick surfaced. Those tweets, which were called out as racist and anti-Semitic, and the initial thread disappeared shortly thereafter when Roderick deactivated his account.
Roderick addressed the tweets in his apology on Tuesday as well.
“As for the many racist, anti-Semitic, hurtful and slur-filled tweets from my early days on Twitter I can say only this: all of those tweets were intended to be ironic, sarcastic,” he wrote. “I thought then that being an ally meant taking the slurs of the oppressors and flipping them to mock racism, sexism, homophobia, and bigotry. I am humiliated by my incredibly insensitive use of the language of sexual assault in casual banter.”
He later added that he deeply regrets “having ever used those words” and does not “want to spread more hate in the world. I want the opposite.”
“I have a lot more reflecting to do in the coming days so I’ll be taking a hiatus from my public life to let some of these lessons sink in. I apologize to my partners, my friends, and to all the people affected by my words for the hurt I caused,” he concluded.
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