'Bean dad' divided Twitter, claiming he made his daughter go hungry because she couldn't use a can opener. Then his old tweets resurfaced.
- A Twitter thread from podcaster and musician John Roderick, in which he described making his nine-year-old daughter figure out how to use a can opener after she said she was hungry, drew ire online.
- Many criticized the actions Roderick described in the thread, and others resurfaced some of his old tweets that contained anti-Semitic and offensive language.
- "Jeopardy!" champion Ken Jennings hosts a podcast with Roderick and defended him, and comedy podcast "My Brother, My Brother, and Me" announced it was dropping its Roderick-penned theme music.
On Sunday, Twitter gained a new "main character" that dominated conversation on the app for a day. Podcaster and musician John Roderick was catapulted into the spotlight after his thread about forcing his daughter to learn how to use a can opener on her own went viral, earning him the moniker "Bean Dad" and culminating in him deleting his account after people resurfaced his old, offensive tweets.
In his viral thread, which has since been deleted along with the account, Roderick recounted a story in which he said that he told his nine-year-old daughter to cook a can of beans for herself, forcing her to figure out how to use a can opener on her own rather than instructing her. Roderick, who according to Social Blade had over 40,000 followers before his account disappeared, hosts the podcast "Omnibus" alongside Jeopardy champion Ken Jennings, and is the lead singer of the band The Long Winters.
While the original thread is gone, its impact is still clearly visible across Twitter: not only did the term "Bean Dad" trend on Twitter on Sunday, but tweets about Roderick have amassed thousands of likes in and of themselves.
However, what initially started with Roderick doubling down on his parenting style amid criticism of the story ended with him deleting his account after people began to reference his old tweets in which he used anti-Semitic language.
Roderick's original thread generated controversy, with some calling his behavior abusive
"So, yesterday my daughter (9) was hungry and I was doing a jigsaw puzzle so I said over my shoulder 'make some baked beans.' 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?'" he wrote in the first tweet of the thread, which as of late Sunday evening had amassed over 9,000 likes and nearly 15,000 quote retweets.
As the thread went on, Roderick said that he realized that he had never taught his daughter how to use a can opener, telling her to figure out how the can opener works by studying its parts. Later, he said that he told her that neither of them would eat anything else until she opened the can of beans.
—ManiacalV (ColinT) (@ManiacalV) January 3, 2021
According to Roderick's thread, he and his daughter were working on the can "on and off" for about six hours before his daughter successfully opened it.
"I'm proud of her," Roderick wrote later in the thread. "I know I'm infuriating. I know this is parenting theater in some ways. I suffer from a lack of perseverance myself, and like all parents throughout history I'm trying to correct my own mistakes in the way I educate my child."
As The Wrap reported, Roderick's thread led to the phrases "Bean Dad," "she's 9," and "SIX HOURS" trending on Twitter as people discussed his story, criticizing Roderick for seemingly not feeding his daughter and saying that he was teaching her not to ask him for help rather than perseverance. Some called the actions he described in his thread abusive.
—BrooklynDad_Defiant! (@mmpadellan) January 3, 2021
—christina (@floozyesq) January 3, 2021
As Mashable reported, Roderick responded to some of the criticism in since-deleted tweets, saying that "the only thing people are touchier about than parenting style is dog ownership."
"The best part about being ratio'd by these parenting concern-trolls is that they keep harping on how depriving my kid of baked beans for SIX HOURS is child abuse. Six hours is the length of time between meals. Lunch at noon, dinner at six. They're literally saying CHILD ABUSE," Roderick reportedly tweeted.
Prior to his account's disappearance, Roderick's Twitter bio read "Bean Dad since 2021."
Roderick's story quickly became meme fodder
As Bean Dad discourse spiraled out of control, people began to make memes about the incident, invoking other notable fathers like Gendo Ikari from the anime series "Neon Genesis Evangelion" (famously a horrible father) or Hades from the Supergiant video game "Hades" (the game's protagonist, Zagreus, spends the game trying to escape from his father and his realm).
—Gene Park (@GenePark) January 3, 2021
—tr!p @ top surgery fundraiser pinned (@dimitriloid) January 4, 2021
Others riffed on Roderick's story.
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—maple cocaine (@maplecocaine) January 4, 2021
—Syama Mishra (@SyamaMishra) January 4, 2021
People resurfaced Roderick's old tweets, some of which contained anti-Semitic and offensive language
Roderick's viral "Bean Dad" thread drew increased scrutiny to his account, leading to people resurfacing some of his past tweets that contained slurs and anti-Semitic language. While his account has been deleted, multiple news outlets have reported on the tweets, and screenshots continue to circulate on Twitter.
According to screenshots published by The Wrap, Roderick had used the R-word and used homophobic and anti-Semitic language in tweets dating back to 2011, 2012, and 2013, saying in one tweet that Jewish people "ruin everybody's fun." Entertainment Weekly reported that Roderick had used the N-word in a 2011 tweet, and had said in a 2016 tweet that he was "a student of Hitler."
By Sunday evening, Roderick appeared to delete his Twitter account.
Ken Jennings attempted to defend Roderick, but received backlash for equating criticism of Israel with anti-Semitism
"Jeopardy!" champion Ken Jennings defended Roderick, with whom he hosts the "Omnibus" podcast. Jennings recently addressed some of his own previous controversial tweets in a December 30 thread, writing that he wanted to "own up" to tweeting "some unartful and insensitive things."
In a tweet referencing Roderick's thread going viral, Jennings wrote that he "personally [knows] John [Roderick] to be (a) a loving and attentive dad who (b) tells heightened-for-effect stories about his own irascibility on like ten podcasts a week."
—Ken Jennings (@KenJennings) January 3, 2021
Later, Jennings addressed Roderick's tweets containing anti-Semitic language in a reply, saying that "it's pretty easy to find what [Roderick] actually thinks about anti-Semitism. On our show he's always the pro-Israel one!"
In quote retweets and replies, many pointed out that Jennings was effectively conflating Jewish people with Israel, and that criticism of Israel doesn't equate to anti-Semitism, as Entertainment Weekly reported.
—Joseph Fink, healthcare is a human right (@PlanetofFinks) January 3, 2021
In response to a tweet criticizing his defense of Roderick's anti-Semitic tweets, Jennings acknowledged the comment and said, "there's no axis where any anti-Semitic screenshot represents any actual opinion I've ever heard from him."
The podcast 'My Brother, My Brother, and Me' announced that it was dropping its current theme song, sung by Roderick
On Sunday evening, popular comedy podcast "My Brother, My Brother, and Me" - commonly referred to as "MBMBaM" and hosted by Griffin, Travis, and Justin McElroy - announced that it would be seeking new music for the show. The show previously used the song "(It's a) Departure," written by John Roderick and performed by his band The Long Winters, as theme music.
"For reasons we're sure you're all aware of, we're getting started finding new music for MBMBaM," the podcast's official account tweeted. "You'll probably hear a filler theme song on this week's episode. We're not sure what'll come after that, honestly, but we hope you'll stick around to find out."
In a follow-up tweet, the MBMBaM account tweeted that Roderick's "response to today's situation is emblematic of a pattern of behavior that is antithetical to the energy we try to bring to the things we do, and so it's time for us to move on."
Ultimately, the incident was the first seemingly all-encompassing discourse to circulate on 2021, with implications that ended up reaching far past Roderick's original thread.
—Marielle Cabe (@MarielleCabe) January 4, 2021
Roderick apologized for his 'poorly told' story on Tuesday
In a post on his personal website, Roderick apologized for both his story and past tweets, calling them both "profound failures."
In the apology, he wrote that he "framed the story with me as the a--hole dad," saying that friends and family would recognize it as a bit and that he and his daughter had snacked while working on the can opener problem, eaten a full meal prior, and worked together on his jigsaw puzzle. He then says that he didn't realize at the time of posting that his language "reminded people very viscerally of abuse they'd experienced at the hand of a parent," and apologized for being "flippant" when confronted.
Roderick also said that his previous "racist, anti-Semitic, hurtful and slur-filled" tweets were intended to be ironic and sarcastic but that he had previously realized that he shouldn't "repurpose" slurs as a straight white male.
"I deeply regret having ever used those words. I do not want to spread more hate in the world. I want the opposite," he wrote, apologizing for the hurt they caused when his tweets resurfaced.
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