Welcome to the first edition of xoNews in 2015. Today we have an update on the devastating suicide of Leelah Alcorn, including an interview with her mother and an additional cry for help we just learned about.
I also have a hilarious story about some silly adults who didn’t realize the toy they made looked like something kids probably shouldn’t play with. Plus, a reason why you might not want to pick up a certain brand of makeup at the drugstore right now.
What do you think of the interview with Leelah Alcorn’s mother? Chat about this story or anything else news-related in the comments or tweet me @AmandaLauren.
Carla Alcorn Speaks
In Wednesday's column, I included the suicide of Leelah Alcorn, a transgender teenage girl from Ohio who died on December 28. She wrote a suicide note, which was posted to her Tumblr account a few hours after her death. The note went viral, as did her mother’s reaction on Facebook, where she used her child’s birth name and masculine pronouns. She also refused to accept her daughter’s death as a suicide.
In a newly discovered post on Reddit, Leelah discussed her mother’s reaction to her coming out as transgender,
[My mother] then proceeded to tell my Dad [I’m transgender] without my consent, and they were both extremely angry with me. They never physically hurt me, but they always talked to me in a very derogatory tone. They would say things like "You'll never be a real girl" or "What're you going to do, fuck boys?" or "God's going to send you straight to hell". These all made me feel awful about myself, I was Christian at the time so I thought that God hated me and that I didn't deserve to be alive. I cut myself at least once every couple days, and I was constantly thinking about suicide.
The post also showed Leelah was frustrated with the seemingly inadequate help her parents provided for her:
I wanted to see a gender therapist but they wouldn't let me, they thought it would corrupt my mind. The would only let me see biased Christian therapists, who instead of listening to my feelings would try to change me into a straight male who loved God, and I would cry after every session because I felt like it was hopeless and there was no way I would ever become a girl.
Carla Alcorn spoke to CNN and it’s clear her daughter’s death did not change her position. During the interview, Alcorn still referred to her child as Joshua and used masculine pronouns:
We don't support that, religiously. But we told him that we loved him unconditionally. We loved him no matter what. I loved my son. People need to know that I loved him. He was a good kid, a good boy.
She also said, “He just quit talking about it (being transgender),” and that her daughter's depression was being treated with medication.
Alcorn also denied her daughter ever called herself “Leelah,” claiming, "He never said that name before.”
While Leelah’s suicide note implied she had been dealing with her parents’ inability to accept her gender identity for three years, her mother said Leelah only came to her once.
Alcorn also said that the press is making both her and her husband out to be “horrible people” and because of the harassment, there has not yet been a service for her child.
Putting The Play in Play-Doh
Some children (and parents) got a big surprise when they opened up their Play-Doh Cake Mountain play set on Christmas morning to find a tool called an “extruder” that looked just like a penis, dildo, phallus, or whatever euphemism you prefer to call it. It wasn’t just the shape -- that thing had little veins. Seriously, a bunch of people at Hasboro probably okayed this before it went into production and no one realized (or quite possibly cared) that it looked liked, well, another kind of tool.
Perhaps funnier than the incident itself were the reactions on Play-Doh’s Facebook page:
Terrible Christmas present...no place for batteries.
A child will not notice this, it's only weird when parents go crazy. Can we recall the dumb parents too?
Is it possible to order the extruder separately? I have no need for play-doh.
My mom wants to know what number to call to get a bigger one shipped out.
Hasboro issued a sort-of apology and offered to replace the potentially offensive accessory.
We have heard some consumer feedback about the extruder tool in the Play-Doh Cake Mountain playset and are in the process of updating all future Play-Doh products with a different tool. Should any consumer want a replacement extruder for this item, they can contact Hasbro’s Customer Service Department at 800-327-8264.
Ha ha, tool…
A Beauty Line That Will Make Your Skin Crawl
A former Revlon employee, Alan Meyers is suing CEO Lorenzo Delpani in Federal Court over unsafe practices and anti-Semitism. Among other things (and wow is there a list), Meyers says Italian-born Delpani is anti-American and compared the country to ISIS. He called Americans “dirty” and “small-minded,” and as well as saying he couldn’t wait to go back to a “real country.”
But, Delpani’s hate isn’t only limited to Americans. He also hates black people and Jews. After a trip to South Africa, he told Meyers he could “smell a black person when he entered the room.” It should be noted that one of the company’s main spokeswomen is Halle Berry, who is black.
Delpani also told Meyers he was surprised there weren’t more Jews working at the company (Revlon’s largest stockholder, Ron Perelman, is Jewish,) “because Jews stick together.”
After the acquisition of a Spanish cosmetic line, Meyers brought up safety concerns to Delpani, who wasn’t pleased and as a result frequently chastised him in front of other employees. In October, Delpani forced the 56-year-old scientist to hold up a white board for 30 minutes during a meeting, effectively making him a “human easel.” After Meyers complained about the incident, which caused him to have chest pains and go to the hospital, he was fired.
Revlon, however, doesn’t see things this way, and said they would “aggressively fight these baseless claims and this frivolous action.” They added “[Meyers] failed to perform at the high standard we demand of our employees” and showed “critical lapses in judgment.”
If you were planning on taking your business elsewhere until this suit is settled, please note Almay and Mitchum are both owned by Revlon.
· Minimum wage increases went into effect on January 1 in 20 states and the District of Columbia. There are now 29 states with a minimum wage above the Federal bottom, which is $7.25 per hour. Washington State has the highest minimum wage in the country at $9.32 per hour.
· Now there’s more sunshine for same-sex partners in the Sunshine State. Starting next week, same sex marriage is officially legal in the state of Florida!
· On January 1st, highly revered New York State Governor Mario Cuomo passed away at age 82. He died of natural causes due to heart failure just hours after his son Andrew was sworn in for his second term as governor in Manhattan.