Redhead 12-year-old assaulted over Facebook message citing South Park episode?

LA County detectives are investigating an assault on on a 12-year-old boy which may have been incited by a Facebook group message referencing a 2005 South Park episode. "The boy was kicked and hit in two separate incidents (...) by as many as 14 of his classmates." The attack followed a Facebook message promoting that date as Kick a Ginger Day." Sadly, not the first time for such stupidity.


  1. It seems like this is a perfect example of how “intolerance will find a way”. We can teach kids about how it’s wrong to judge people because of their race, or that there’s nothing wrong with being gay, but there’s a deeper, philosophical norm of tolerance and co-existence that has to be taught. Otherwise, kids will just find some as-yet-unknown criteria for singling out certain people to abuse and dominate.

  2. @zikzak, +1. Sadly/ironically, the South Park episode in question was all about exactly that! Nuts. I feel so badly for the child who was assaulted. What an awful experience.

  3. I feel bad for the kid, I really do, but you can’t get your redhead cred until you’ve been beat down for your ginger locks. Now RISE fellow redhead! RISE and avenge yourself! Join the heathen hell-fire hordes! The “normals” will all bow to their new Ginger Overloads!!!

    But seriously, this blows. I got my fair share of beatings curtosey of a MC1R-gene variation, but I think its worse for boys. At least girls get the “fire in bed” mythology to ease their way later in life– kind of a self esteem booster after all the jeering you get pre-puberty. Boys just get stuck with the temper steriotype and a childhood full of exclusion and victimization.

    My heart goes out to you, little dude. Don’t worry, when you grow up people won’t care any more (mostly) and you’ll be able to pick chicks up in bars by feigning an Irish accent.

    1. We need to form some kind of redhead support league.

      Also, Jamie Sue, the “fire in bed” mythology doesn’t actually ease anything for redhead girls. It just makes us fodder for creeps who want a fetish object. Some of the most uncomfortable interactions I’ve had with men have been due to that mythology. Frankly, given the choice, I’d have rather been beaten up by grade-school peers.

  4. In Britain, I got teased often for this. It seems to be the national substitute for the *isms that are no longer allowed.

    In the U.S., quite the opposite, people think it’s cool.

  5. I’ve just gotta ask… what kind of assault are we talking about here? From the article it sounds very much like the typical stuff that I and anyone smaller than their peers had to endure in middle school. I feel for the kid, and what the other kids have been doing to him is wrong, but have we stooped so low as to expect the police to solve schoolyard bullying? What exactly does anyone realistically expect to result from this?

    I know, it’s an unfair question… we really don’t know from the article if this group of aspiring degenerates is vicious or simply your run-of-the-mill-almost-normal mean-spirited little pricks.

    On the surface though, this looks like far too much attention for less than I endured in 6th grade.

    1. Seems he got his arm broke. Just a little simple harmless assault we should put up with for being red-headed, freckled freaks, eh?

    2. “stooped so low as to expect the police to solve schoolyard bullying”

      The hell?

      Physical assault is illegal. How hard is this to understand? If half of of your co-workers beat you up one day, you’d probably go to the cops. Why should it be any different if it’s a kid?

      I’m not generally in favor of zero tolerance stupidity, but zero tolerance for an actual ASSAULT is something I can get behind.

      Anyone who thinks physical assault is acceptable shouldn’t be allowed to coexist with the rest of us.

  6. I remember this episode and was horrified at how funny I thought it was (actually I am always personally horrified by my enjoyment of South Park).

    Raskalnikov-Harry Haller-Mersault-Cartman

    A man was brutally stabbed on the D train NYC city early this morning bc of an altercation over a seat. This was not nearly as disgusting as the many many comments saying the guy deserved it in the NY Post (yeah yeah I know, but still…).

    I wonder if these people laugh at South Park too. Is South Park the thin edge of the wedge?

  7. Funny, I reported this group on Facebook under their ‘No Direct Calls for Violence’ code before this happened, and got no response.

  8. It’s hilarious if anyone thinks the root cause is the facebook group. The root cause is a bunch of people who wanted to beat someone…anyone.
    Any reason probably would have done nicely.

  9. “Have we stooped so low as to expect the police to solve schoolyard bullying?”

    Damn straight anyone who assaults people should get a visit from the law. Assault isn’t trivial just because it’s kids who do it.

  10. I go to this school, the kid “assulted” is one of my best friends. What happened…. He was kicked in the balls, when he was on the floor about 6 guys started to kick him, later in the day… Even girls were getting punched. One GIRL was held by her backpack while a GUY punched her in the face. Never the less, this shit event was just taken too far. I must admit when I first saw this group on facebook I laughed. A.E. Wright Middle School is an amazing school, all day my classes were getting lectures and all of the teachers were saying how disgusted they were with our school. Even the principal came on the loud speaker to lecture, and also to tell us how much she is disgusted to be associated with our school. The staff may have given up on all of us… But I haven’t. This ruined our reputation probably forever, but we are an AMAZING school.

    1. To Anon @ 20, what your friend went through this week is appalling and will change him in profound ways that he may not realize for years to come. Please try to help him through this. It won’t be easy for either of you. Good luck.

  11. Kids have been targeting those that are different since before recorded history. We had no WWW or cartoons with mature themes on TV when I was in middle school – we still picked on others (and given an excuse they picked on me).

    The children who did this should be taught a lesson. But to suggest facebook or southpark, rather than ignorance and childhood stupidity are the root cause is sensationalist media BS.

  12. Not that anything would make blaming South Park okay, but this is something the villain of the show (Cartman) did. How many shows and movies have the bad guy… doing something bad? Is it really that easy to blame television?

  13. The problem with SP, is that their actual demographic presumedly has the ability to get the message in the story, which happens to be opposite of what is portrayed, but their “hypothetical” audience (i.e., “kids” because it is a show for “kids”) is unable or unwilling make this distinction.

    Another problem is that SP itself is so ham-fisted about these subjects, and merely engages for the purpose of shock and frat-boy humour before backing off with a sly “oh, just joking!!!111”

    Which, of course, is a classic rhetorical technique used by all sorts of people espousing all sorts of kooky ideas. Telling a story in a deliberately inconsistent manner while maintaining editorial, satirical distance is a classic velvet glove over an iron fist. And the fact is some of the more cruel people in our society.

    Which, given that many of them have not realized there are other people in the world besides themselves, can include many young people.

  14. Until that South Park episode I never once thought I was anything but a particularly pale member of the white race. Since that show, after reading that in the UK this sort of prejudice actually exists, I look in the mirror and I see myself as a freak, and now it’s happening in the US, well, I’m scared. I’ve heard of the red-headed step-child stereotype before and knew my parents picked the wrong kid to adopt, but now it’s becoming mindless scapegoating.

  15. i kinda feel bad for the kid, but not really. they are making a big thing out of nothing. what about the fat kid that gets picked on, or the kid that needs new shoes, not to mention the kid with glasses or the skinny kid. that is what kids do, its a part of growing up, you either be on the recieving end or the giving end. parents get over it, the kid will either get over it or grow up and shoot everyone in McDonalds.

  16. I am sad to say that my daughter in middle school came home on Friday talking about this. Several boys in her grade were sent to the principal’s office for engaging in abusive behavior towards redheads. Apparently the kids were talking about it as if it were an *actual* holiday. I didn’t even know what she was talking about, and told her it must have been something the kids made up. Now I know better.

  17. I would be negligent NOT to comment on this post, because I’m a redhead and the ginger episode was what caused me to swear off South Park.

    Not that it was they only reason. For years, despite my love of their brand of humour, I’d be getting steadily more and more annoyed at their snide conservative overtones. The ginger episode annoyed me not because it was a parody of prejudice, but rather because of the DVD mini-commentary of the episode, where Trey Parker basically goes on a 5-minute long spiel about how he genuinely feels ginger kids are creepy and is genuinely glad he married someone Asian so that there’s no chance of him ever having them.

    I’ve got to say, that sort of thing pissed me off. So when I heard about little redheaded kids getting beat up and told things like “This won’t hurt you because you don’t have a soul,” (which directly reference the episode), well, I can’t say I want South Park to be a part of my life anymore.

    South Park can make fun of christians and blacks and jews and gays as a point of satire, but if the DVD commentary had one of them saying, “No really, those people are creepy and weird,” you know they wouldn’t be able to get away with it.

    1. @GeekMan, you do realize that those “documentaries” are not real, right? They also do infomercials and other skits on different DVDs.

  18. Actually, to pretend that Facebook and South Park had NOTHING to do with it is the absurd conclusion. Kids don’t just start spontaneously beating on random redheads without provocation. Yes, kids can be cruel. Yes, bullies are violent, controlling assholes. And yes, every school has its share of victims and psychopaths. But these things don’t happen on special days with multiple incidents.

    This actually seems like pretty clear proof that our media and our culture send us behavior signals all the time– this is funny, this is OK, this is normal, this is pretty, this is seriously fucked-up. I mean really how else would you explain the popularity of crocks or mullets. If media has no effect on our behavior, I would like someone to explain away the multi-billion dollar advertising industry.

    The reality is that, sure, some kids are just waiting for permission to be mean, to brutalize, to humiliate. When popular culture and social networking give them that permission (it’s funny! it’ll be cool! let’s all do it!!), they will take it gladly. Millions of people were killed by their neighbors in Rwanda after popular radio shows started calling for the slaughter. Permission given, action taken. It doesn’t do us any good to pretend there is not a connection.

  19. Ah, this takes me back to high school when I was a fat, gay, ginger. But of course it was easier back then, growing up during the height of the AIDS crisis, before there were any treatment options. Oh, wait: did I say easier? I meant hellish.

  20. Lily Potter was a redhead. Harry carries the recessive gene. He marries Ginny Weasley who is a ginger.

    Clearly, Harry Potter’s kids are likely to be gingers.

    How cool is that?

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