The sons of a woman who sent an awkward viral tweet are defusing the situation with laughter — and a little bit of debunking.
On Monday night, a relatively benign political tweet from a random mom on Twitter exploded into a huge meme. Her tweet featured a photo of her son, along with a message that seemed to criticize recent national conversations about sexual assault and accountability.
“This is MY son,” the now-deleted tweet read. “He graduated #1 in boot camp. He was awarded the USO award. He was #1 in A school. He is a gentleman who respects women. He won’t go on solo dates due to the current climate of false sexual accusations by radical feminists with an axe to grind. I VOTE. #HimToo.”
The cadence of the diatribe, along with the Rockwellian image of said sailor son in uniform, were easy pickings for Twitter pranksters. They copy and pasted the tweet text, interchanging the picture with images of Buster Bluth from “Arrested Development,” Gritty the Philadelphia Flyers mascot, and countless other meme-y figures.
There was only one problem with the whole thing. According to two men who claim to be the woman’s sons, the son in the photo is not, in fact, afraid of feminists or dates or false sexual accusations at all.
After the original tweet went viral (and was deleted, and the account deactivated), a Twitter user claiming to be Jon Hanson said the original sender was his mom and the subject of the tweet was his brother, Pieter.
“My brother is trending on twitter because of my moms ridiculous tweet,” he wrote. “I’m a mixture of laughing hard and feeling bad for him.”
Soon Pieter Hanson also joined Twitter and quickly amassed more than 17,000 followers. His handle? @thatwasmymom.
In his own viral tweet, Pieter Hanson set a few things straight: He IS a Navy vet, but does not support the idea of #HimToo — a #MeToo countermovement that casts accused men as victims.
“Let’s turn this around. I respect and #BelieveWomen,” he wrote. He capped off his message with a photo of himself smiling, chin on his right hand, mocking the one in his mom’s original tweet.
“Sometimes the people we love do things that hurt us without realizing it,” he wrote.
Jon Hanson also said that his mother meant well and the original tweet was “just my mom trying to get my brother a girlfriend.”
“She had good intentions but I never expected this to go viral,” he tweeted in one reply.
A Facebook page appearing to belong to their mother, Marla, claims that one or more of her social media accounts “may have” been hacked.
CNN has reached out to Pieter and Marla Hanson for comment.
Since his family’s sudden 15 minutes of fame, Pieter Hanson has been tweeting out mostly jokes and pictures of cats — along with an appeal to, fittingly, turn #negativesintopositives.
By AJ Willingham, CNN