Can a TikTok challenge exist without its very own controversy? It appears the answer is no. The “Something New” TikTok challenge has taken the internet by storm as people get creative to the song “Something New” by Wiz Khalifa and Ty Dolla $ign. However, the Whitaker family has gone viral for their contribution and the controversy it sparked. In their TikTok video, they toss their teen daughter who has disabilities, shocking TikTok users.
Their clip starts out just like thousands of other “Something New” TikTok challenge videos as the siblings and dad line up and dance as they come into focus. It’s the ending, however, that had users in an uproar. The mom, Kim, is seen tossing their 14-year-old daughter, Abbie, who has 1p36 deletion syndrome, a chromosome disorder that causes severe disabilities.
TikTok users took to the comments to express their reactions, many laughing at the video, but some were less than positive. Users were shocked that the daughter was tossed somewhere offscreen before the video ended and deeply concerned for Abbie’s wellbeing. Some even went as far as to say they were willing to call Child Protective Services.
One user wrote, “Why is this not reported and kept on?” Another commented, “child services, yes this video right here.”
what a fam of 8 siblings does during quarantine ##fyp♬ Something New feat. Ty Dolla $ign – Wiz Khalifa
The Whitaker family from Jacksonville, Florida noticed the backlash and responded to the criticism.
“[Abbie] loves to be tossed just like any other child and laughs when she is just like every other child,” Kim told BuzzFeed News. “She has been my daughter for 14 years, and I know her better than anyone.”
The family’s eldest daughter, 22-year-old Kaylee, explained to Buzzfeed News that she was no more than two feet away from Abbie in order to catch her, emphasizing that Abbie was fine.
“If I wanted to, I could have touched her in my mom’s arms from where I was sitting. Nothing about what we did was dangerous or harmful to her,” Kaylee added.
According to the family, the video was taken down from their account, @whitakerquarantine, but after an appeal from Kaylee, it was restored. It currently has over 5.4 million views, 835,000 likes and nearly 16,000 comments. In another post with the same clip they uploaded after the initial post was removed, the caption says, “reposting bc someone reported us #fyp #shesfine.”
“We are thankful for the comments of the people who stood up for us,” Kaylee told Buzzfeed News. “We do know that some people are genuinely concerned, and we want to assure them that she is well taken care of.”
The Whitaker family continues to upload content onto their TikTok account.