The original version of the video became a viral sensation last year when it showed Maxwell, who is black, and his friend Finnegan, who is white, running down a street toward one another to hug. The clip became an uplifting symbol of hope for love and American unity.
Leave it to Donald Trump, however, to mock and manipulate that hope for his own purposes. This month, he tweeted out a doctored version of the video which showed Maxwell running away from Finnegan. The doctored video also used the CNN logo and fake headline “Terrified toddler runs from racist baby.” Twitter eventually flagged the tweet as deceptive and eventually took down the video per the request of Maxwell’s dad.
Now Michael Cisneros, the father of Maxwell, has gone public with his grievances. He’s also called lawyers to the case.
“We were hurt, saddened, and felt nauseous and wanted to vomit,” Cisneros told The Advocate. “A video showing love, unity, and friendship that has inspired love and hope to millions was now doctored to further hate and racism. It was just heartbreaking to see.”
“The fact that they were our boys made it so much worse,” Cisneros continued. “We immediately took action. We will do whatever we can, whatever is needed, to protect our children from this or anything else that attempts to bring them harm.”
Twitter has since banned Logan Cook, also known by the moniker “Carpe Donktum,” the creator of the doctored video. Two law firms have also begun to draft filings against Cook and Donald Trump as well as the Trump 2020 campaign.
“The fact that Twitter and Facebook disabled this fake video within 24 hours of President Trump and his campaign tweeting it, coupled with Twitter permanently banning Cook, is very strong evidence that a jury will likely find that all of these people broke the law by using this video as advertisement and political propaganda,” attorney Ven Johnson said in a statement.
“It really breaks our hearts that we even have to think about these necessary conversations, as I’m sure it does with any parent of a black child,” Cisneros said of the debacle. “No child should have to be taught that the people that are supposed to protect them are also the people that they should fear due to the color of their skin. It makes them feel less than, insecure, hurt, and I’m sure angry. It saddens me just saying these things to you. I fear for the time when we will have to start these talks with Maxwell.”
Cisneros has also said he would like an apology from Trump, but does not expect to receive one. But don’t let it get you down: just watch the original video for a little pick-me-up.
A video of two toddlers running to give each other a big hug has gotten a lot of love. The boys, 26-month-old Maxwell and 27-month-old Finnegan, have known each other for more than a year. https://t.co/UdqB8xxUsH pic.twitter.com/2MuFYGORGD
— CNN (@CNN) September 11, 2019