Six months ago, Liz Crowter discovered that her daughter had become the subject of a particularly nasty Internet meme — and, given the Internet, that's saying something.
A baby photo of Heidi, a now-16-year-old girl with Down's Syndrome, was used to create a highly controversial macro meme known as "I Can Count to Potato." According to Liz, the photo was taken from the website of a local support group for parents of children with disabilities.
Further, the photo itself appears to have been lifted not from the website of a support group, but rather from a book published by Liz and Steve Crowter called Surprise Package: When God Turns Your Life Upside Down's.
Liz, apparently unaware of this, or the meme's wide circulation across the web, says she and a circle of friends have been going after Facebook pages that display the image — even going so far as to call the police — but have had little luck getting them removed.
"These trolls are cowardly, nasty people who should be punished for the damage they are doing to people with their comments," she says. "They have no right to take Heidi's image and use it alongside these cruel sites."
Heidi herself has been recently informed of her unwitting celebrity, and is reportedly "very upset."
Meanwhile, the Internet is doing what the Internet does: Turning the whole thing into a meme. But some are speaking out against the ridicule, reminding folks that just because you can be a jackass, "does not mean that you should be a jack-ass."
It remains to be seen what, if anything, will come of humanizing the meme. In the US and most other places, likely nothing. But in the UK, where a student was recently sent to jail for two months for making racist comments about Fabrice Muamba on Twitter, trolls might want to pick on someone else.
[screengrab via BBC]