It’s been almost one week since “BBC Dad” and his adorable kids came crashing into our lives in a hilarious BBC interview blunder. But, after what feels like an eternity of op-eds, memes, parodies and fan art, it’s now high time we left this family alone once and for all.
Yes, it was funny. We all laughed. Now, let’s move on. Seriously.
It’s safe to say the internet and media organisations (including us) made the most of that moment where Robert Kelly’s children, Marion and James, burst into what was intended to be a very serious interview on the impeachment of South Korea’s president on Thursday. Almost immediately after, our Twitter feeds were awash with meme after hilarious meme. Social media feeds were dominated with BBC Dad and people just couldn’t get enough.
The hot takes were literally never-ending. “The BBC pundit’s children video is NOT FUNNY. It’s patriarchy in a nutshell,” declared the New Statesman. “Assuming the woman in the BBC dad video is the nanny highlights a dangerous stereotype,” proclaimed Romper. Some accused Kelly of “shoving” his daughter out of the way, and others felt that his wife Jung-A used too much force when removing the kids from the room.
Then came the backlash and people (rightly) argued that we shouldn’t try and assign meaning to this adorable and deeply funny video. Meanwhile, conspiracy theories swirled, with some postulating that he wasn’t wearing trousers and was therefore unable to stand up. Some suggested the entire video was staged.
But, while our social feeds were inundated by an endless stream of questions, theories and comments about the one-minute-long video, the Kelly family went into hiding, switching off their phones and turning off their Facebook and Twitter alerts. When they emerged from digital hiding in a follow-up interview with the BBC, Kelly said they had been “fairly relentlessly solicited on social media, by phone, by email”. In the interview, Kelly addressed the fact that many had assumed his wife was a nanny, stating they “were pretty uncomfortable with it”.
Kelly addressed the internet’s myriad concerns and questions in a blog post, and apologised for their “reticence” in responding to countless media outlets. “We have been deluged with requests since Friday. We were unsure how to respond, and as the attention accelerated, we became genuinely unnerved. We had no idea how to handle this,” he wrote. He said that some media outlets had deemed this “dissatisfactory” and that they are “unready” to host at-home interviews.
But, really, why on earth should the parents of two small children even feel the need to apologise for not responding to relentless media requests? Leave them alone! They also shouldn’t have to defend their own parenting methods to anyone, let alone the internet. But, Kelly chose to do so in his blog post. “No, Jung-A did not use too much force in removing the children from the room. It is quite apparent from the video that she is frantically trying to salvage the professionalism of the interview. The children were not injured,” wrote Kelly. He also clarified that he was not “shoving” his daughter out of the way.
But, while Kelly was defending his behaviour, the internet was busy gif-ing and meme-ing 4-year-old Marion during the family’s appearance at a press conference. We now how enough gifs of Marion to last a lifetime. Now, let’s move on. Let Marion go back to being outrageously cute in the privacy of her own home. Find someone else to gif.
“We are hoping to return to normality in the next few days,” wrote Kelly in his blog post.
Listen, internet, we’ve had our fun. BBC Dad and his family are firmly cemented in viral history. It’s time to let them go.