In late October, popular gossip website MediaTakeOut.com posted a story about Chili’s son, Tron Austin, criticizing him. In response to the story, Chili launched a Change.org petition asking for fellow parents and allies to join her fight against media companies “slandering” minors.
“MediaTakeOut.com has posted numerous false stories about me, and other celebrity friends of mine and while I don’t like it, I realize that is a part of what comes with celebrity,” wrote Chili. “However when my 16-year-old son is being attacked, that is when I take off the celebrity hat and become the protective Mother that I am, and I know many of you are.”
Chili goes on to explain that kids of celebrities often face scrutiny, which sometimes develop into mental health issues. She says those issues affect their “sleep, eating patterns, loss of interest in activities, health complaints, and decreased academic achievement.” She takes it a step further and links bullying to violent school shooters. “For instance, 12 out of the 15 school shooters in the 1990s were victims of bulling. Victims of bullying are also two to nine times more likely to consider committing suicide.”
Since the article was publish, MediaTakeOut has not only taken down the post, but it has issued a formal apology. The site’s CEO and Founder Fred Mwangaguhunga says he’s unsure how the story was published since it violates their policy against criticizing kids. “I plan to take action against the MTO staffer who wrote the article, and put in place additional safeguards to ensure that this doesn’t happen again,” he said in a statement.