Landon Benton has nearly 53,000 Instagram followers already, and he’s only 10 months old. It’s not hard to see why either. His cherubic cheeks are too adorable to resist. So, how did he get so many followers? It’s not for the reason you’d think.
Landon’s mom, 39-year-old Jessica Benton, created an Instagram for her baby in the first place in October 2015 as a way to follow other baby Instagram pages, baby brands, and online stores, but without oversharing photos of him on Facebook.
A few months ago, however, a popular college football player posted one of Landon’s photos on his social media sites and encouraged his friends to make up nicknames for the baby based on his size. According to Buzzfeed, someone took a photo from Landon’s Instagram account, and posted it on their Facebook page with the caption “Stuff Curry,” which spawned an entire meme sensation. It was based on the Golden State Warriors superstar point guard, Stephen Curry.
While Benton was initially devastated, she decided to take a positive approach to the bullying, instead of letting it get to her, stating in TODAY:
“I thought, ‘Okay. The guy has green eyes, curly hair, fair skin. If they made a Cabbage Patch doll of him, it would look like Landon.’ I was like, ‘Yeah, we’re Stuff Curry, because Steph Curry is not a bad-looking guy.’
I turned it around. I said we were going to own the name. We’re going to take control of it. So I started hash tagging all of his pictures on every social network so when people did look up the name, they’d get the hash tag and would see something positive, not that same picture that’s been shared over and over.”
Part of Benton’s desire to combat online bullying comes from the less she suffered while pregnant with Landon,the suicide of her 20-year-old son, Kevin. While Benton said her son wasn’t routinely bullied in high school, she remembers when Kevin was 16 and opened up about how his classmates were saying mean things to him. Unfortunately, she and Kevin never spoke of that incident again, but she still thinks about it:
“You sit back and think, if I could have changed something to have him here now, what could have it been? That’s what sticks in my head—the negative, rude comments.”
This is precisely why she’s not wasting her time ruminating on the “uneducated and unknowing” comments people make about her parenting skills. One such person even have said to her that her little one is “one chocolate chip cookie away from a heart attack.”
We’re glad Benton is standing up for her son—and raising awareness on the dangers of fat-shaming and bullying.