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Bean Dad Apologizes for ‘Insensitivity’ and Causing ‘Hurt’

John Roderick posted an apology Tuesday, two days after going viral for tweeting a lengthy story about teaching his daughter to use a can opener

John Roderick — who will forever be known as Bean Dad — posted an apology Tuesday for the lengthy story he tweeted Sunday about teaching his daughter to use a can opener. The musician and podcast host deactivated his Twitter after the story drew backlash and accusations of abuse.

“I deactivated my Twitter yesterday in a panic. I had to reflect on what I’d done and the hurt I’d caused and my mind was clouded by an unprecedented flow of new information. I want to acknowledge and make amends for the injuries I caused. I have many things to atone for. My parenting story’s insensitivity and the legacy of hurtful language in my past are both profound failures. I want to confront them directly,” he wrote on his website.

Roderick explained that he framed himself in the story thread as “the a–hole dad” as part of a self-deprecating “bit” that he thought followers of his work would recognize, but in doing so, left out lighthearted elements and used language that “reminded people very viscerally of abuse they’d experienced at the hand of a parent.”

The saga began Sunday, when Roderick wrote about the intended “teaching moment” for his 9-year-old daughter that turned into the hungry girl spending six hours trying to operate a can opener and to get inside a can of baked beans. In the Tuesday apology, he wrote that she had been snacking and laughing throughout the experience, which were details left absent in the thread.

The phrases #BeanDad along with “she’s 9” and “SIX HOURS” all trended on Sunday, as people mocked and criticized Roderick, with some calling him everything from an “a-hole” to “abusive.”

From there, the situation escalated. The deletion of his account came after not only criticism for the beans story, but the resurfacing of old anti-Semitic and homophobic tweets. In the posts, he joked about rape, mocked gay and mentally disabled people, said Jewish lawyers “ruin everybody’s fun” and said the “founders intended USA as white homeland.”

Roderick’s podcast co-host, Ken Jennings, defended him Sunday against the criticism. Roderick addressed the old tweets directly in his Tuesday apology, writing that he tries to be cognizant of his privilege as a white and middle-class man, but put “more hate in the world” with his posts.

“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,” wrote Roderick. “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. It was a lazy and damaging ideology, that I continued to believe long past the point I should’ve known better that because I was a hipster intellectual from a diverse community it was ok for me to joke and deploy slurs in that context. It was not.”

Author John Hodgman defended Bean Dad to his 1 million followers Tuesday morning after the publication of the apology, linking to it and saying, “I know he has long defined his life around anti-bigotry, in all forms. I know he has had trouble hearing and adapting to what active anti-bigotry requires of him, & all of us (white guys), often lagging behind, growing defensive and petty when shown his failings and blind spots.”

Writer Ryan Broderick called the apology “thoughtful and interesting,” but noted, “this whole thing just feels like such a profound bummer.”

Others, like musician A.C. Newman, also shared and applauded the apology. Readers called it genuine and thoughtful.

Still, the apology comes after significant fallout. “My Brother, My Brother and Me,” a long-running podcast, announced Sunday that it would no longer use Roderick’s music as its theme song. Representatives for the podcast did not immediately return a request for comment on the apology.