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Melania Trump is threatening a lawsuit over a YouTube video that speculates her son Barron has autism, The Hollywood Reporter has confirmed.
“This law firm represents first lady-elect Melania Trump and her 10-year-old son, Barron Trump,” attorney Charles Harder tells THR. “A video was posted at YouTube recently speculating that Barron might be autistic. He is not. The video includes the hashtag ‘StopTheBullying‘ but yet the video itself is bullying by making false statements and speculation about a 10-year-old boy for the purpose of harassing him and his parents. The online bullying of children, including Barron Trump, should end now.”
TMZ first reported the news Monday afternoon, claiming it obtained a copy of a letter written by Harder. According to the site, the letter says, “The video did instigate further bullying by Rosie O’Donnell and others.”
O’Donnell shared the video on her Twitter feed last week. “Barron Trump Autistic? if so – what an amazing opportunity to bring attention to the AUTISM epidemic,” she wrote in a since-deleted tweet with a link to the video.
The YouTube video had more than 3.2 million views Monday when news of the potential suit broke. The channel that hosts the seven-minute video contains only one other upload, a 16-second clip of Barron Trump “‘clapping’ erratically at the Republican National Convention.”
Melania Trump isn’t yet threatening to sue O’Donnell, but she wants the person who posted the video to remove it and apologize.
Harder also is representing Trump in her lawsuit against The Daily Mail over an Aug. 19 article that suggests she was an escort.
A rep for Trump did not immediately return a request for comment.
The YouTube user, James Hunter, posted that he was “in contact with Melania Trump’s lawyer” and later removed the videos — replacing them with a new one that apologizes and retracts the statements made in the first.
“It was incredibly irresponsible of me to diagnose Barron Trump using a selection of misleading videos,” says the apology. “I can understand if you might not want to accept my apology, but please know I didn’t mean to hurt anyone with my video.”
Earlier Monday, Hunter addressed TMZ’s report in comments on the video, saying he was “absolutely terrified” and “never ever meant” the clip “as a bullying video.”
“As someone who was diagnosed at age 5 and has gone through bullying myself, I would NEVER do something like that,” he wrote. “I made this because I truly believed Barron was on the spectrum, and I wanted people to stop bullying him over his ‘weird’ behavior and explain to them that it might actually be due to a condition.”
Nov. 29, 9:44 a.m. This story has been updated with comments from the YouTube user who uploaded the video.
Nov. 29, 12:59 p.m. Updated with Hunter’s retraction and apology.
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