“Unborn child” PSA humanizes hate speech

Bigots used #tomyunbornchild to air anti-gay views on Twitter. When filmmaker put their words into the mouths of parents-to-be, the result was chilling.


Lauren Rae Orsini

Internet Culture

Published Apr 6, 2012   Updated Jun 2, 2021, 6:54 pm CDT

“#ToMyUnbornChild If you’re gay, I’ll kill you.”

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This sentiment—and since deleted tweet—from Samuel Dave was one of hundreds of hateful messages directed at the users’ hypothetical unborn children as part of a global trending topic in early March.

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While trolling is a part of the Internet we’ve all reluctantly learned to live with, writer/director Charlotte Moore couldn’t help but take the statements at face value. As she wrote on YouTube:

“It’s easy to dehumanize hate speech online because we’ve gotten so used to seeing it. We tell ourselves that it’s the product of trolls, of random, anonymous strangers. Except they’re not. They’re real people. Many of them will be parents. And some of their children will be gay.”

Inspired, Moore filmed “#tomyunbornchild,” a public service announcement that puts the haters’ words in the mouths of parents-to-be. Set to a gentle lullaby, actors portraying aspiring mothers and fathers smilingly echo the hate speech while speaking directly to the women’s pregnant bellies.

Moore wrote that she’s been “overwhelmed” by the positive response to the video. She’s been moderating comments on the video, and out of hundreds she’s received, she’s only had to decline two. That’s a surprising statement, given YouTube’s especially active troll community.

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On Twitter, she’s hoping users will continue to share the video in order to “give [the bigots] what they asked for.”

“We can’t stop anyone from having kids,” she wrote. “But we can resolve to stop this toxic cycle. We can wish better for our own children. And we can support the kids who weren’t so lucky.”

Photo via #tomyunbornchild

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*First Published: Apr 6, 2012, 11:03 am CDT