Several brands that once sponsored YouTube personality Myka Stauffer have cut ties with her amid controversy surrounding her once-adopted Chinese son Huxley, who has special needs, Today reports.
In a video shared on May 26, Stauffer and her husband James revealed that they had “rehomed” Huxley after learning that “there was a lot more special needs that we weren’t aware of.” The couple, who share three children together and one girl from Stauffer’s previous relationship, had adopted Huxley in 2017 and had documented his adoption process, all while racking up video views. One “emotional adoption video,” which has since been made private, reportedly received more than 5 million views and nearly 100,000 likes.
As the mother and father continued to post videos of Huxley, they landed partnerships with brands like Good American, Fabletics, Playtex Baby and Danimals. The couple also gave interviews with Moms.com and Parade.
Yet, followers of the couple noticed things were off when Huxley slowly began to disappear from the public eye at the beginning of 2020. In an Instagram post on February, Stauffer also seemed to signal something ominous when she lamented her struggle with raising a child with special needs.
By May, Stauffer, who has more than 700,000 subscribers on YouTube, and her husband, confirmed that Huxley was, in fact, no longer part of their family.
“There isn’t an ounce in our body that doesn’t love Huxley with all of our being,” Stauffer says in the video. “There wasn’t a minute I didn’t try our hardest … After multiple assessments, after multiple evaluations, numerous medical professionals have felt that he needed a different fit and that [with] his medical needs, he needed more.”
The announcement sparked tremendous backlash from critics, including writer Sophie Ross, who accused Stauffer and her husband of trying to profit off Huxley’s adoption. The couple’s decision also forced companies to cut ties.
In response to the social media outrage over Huxley’s rehoming, Danimals announced on Instagram that it would no longer partner with Stauffer.
“We have previously worked with Myka Stauffer and are no longer working with her,” the company said. “We are aware of the news she shared about her family, and are very sad to hear about this difficult situation.”
Playtex Baby, Fabletics, Chili’s, Suave, Big Lots and other brands similarly responded to social media followers, claiming that they had no plans to collaborate with the Stauffers again.
Adventures are larger than life for @aliciaback and her son. Want to get your own kids’ adventures illustrated? Tag us @the_official_danimals and use #AdventurousByNature and #DanimalsContest in the caption. We have previously worked with Myka Stauffer and are no longer working with her. We are aware of the news she shared about her family, and are very sad to hear about this difficult situation.
A post shared by Danimals (@the_official_danimals) on May 15, 2020 at 1:48pm PDT
“We haven’t partnered with Myka since the fall of 2019 and do not have plans for any future partnerships,” Chili’s told one commenter.
“We had a one-time partnership with Myka in the summer of 2019,” Big Lots said in another comment. “We currently do not have any sponsorships with Myka and will not work with her in the future.”
In an interview with Today, Chuck Johnson, president and CEO of the National Council For Adoption, added that cases in which an adoptive family gives up their child — such as the Stauffers’ decision to give up Huxley — are rare.
“It’s one more setback for the innocent child and one more failure in a long line of failures to protect the child and accomplish his best interests,” he said. “And, yes, it’s hard for those of us who champion adoption as a viable option for children for the inaccurate message it sends about children, about adoptive families, and about adoption.”
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