“I apologize to @melaniatrump – i was insensitive in my RT – i am sorry for the pain i caused – it was not my intent – i am truly sorry,” the former The View cohost tweeted on her now-private social media account.
The comedian, 54, sparked backlash after she retweeted a video suggesting the 10-year-old son of President-Elect Donald Trump has the developmental disorder. “Barron Trump Autistic? If so — what an amazing opportunity to bring attention to the AUTISM epidemic,” O’Donnell wrote on November 21.
Her comment quickly attracted a flood of criticism from Twitter users, who accused the A League of Their Own star of taking her bitter public feud with Trump out on his wife and child. In response, O’Donnell shared a poem about the controversy on her website on November 26, and revealed that her 3-year-old adopted daughter, Dakota, had recently been diagnosed with autism. “when i saw the anti-bullying video / that mentioned barron / it spoke to the symptoms many ASD kids have … 1 in 55 kids is an epidemic/ donald and i agree on that/ and not much else,” the mother-of-five wrote.
The controversial seven-minute clip, which included footage of Barron from Trump’s acceptance speech and campaign events, was compiled by YouTuber James Hunter, who took the video down and issued a formal apology after being faced with the threat of a lawsuit from Melania’s lawyer Charles J. Harder this week.
“I never ever meant this as a bullying video,” Hunter wrote on his YouTube page on November 29. “As someone who was diagnosed at age 5 and has gone through bullying myself, I would NEVER do something like that. I made this because I truly believed Barron was on the spectrum, and I wanted people to stop bullying him of his ‘weird’ behavior and explain to them that it might actually be due to a condition… I never meant to hurt anyone.”