Josh Fonner

Slacktory’s Brad O’Farrell wrote about Heidi Crowter, the girl whose picture was used in the “I can count to potato” meme, and whom the Sun recently irresponsibly publicized. I asked Josh Fonner, who gave several interviews this year about being used in two mean “fat” memes, to write some advice from one meme victim to another.

We post a lot of satire here, but the following is real. Josh wrote one open letter to comfort Heidi, then chastised her mother in another. His opinions are, of course, his own.

Dear Heidi,

You don’t know me, but we have something in common. We’ve both been made fun of by a lot of mean people on the internet. I just wanted to write you a short letter to try to cheer you up. I understand you’re probably sad and upset about what you’ve seen in the past few days. Don’t let it get you down. I’ve had my pictures stolen and used in hurtful ways too, but the GREAT part of it is, none of these people have EVER made fun of me in real life. My advice to you Heidi, if this meme hurts you, live your life like you never found out about it. People will forget it ever happened. Just be the lovely, kind, gentle hearted person I’m sure you are, and everything will work itself out. Because “Those who mind don’t matter, and those who matter don’t mind.” Keep your chin up. This will all die down soon enough. It always does.


Dear Liz,

You don’t know me either, but I can assure you, I’m not going to be nearly as nice and gentle with you as I was with your daughter. Because I don’t know you, I can’t be sure if your actions have been born of stupidity and selfishness, or sheer ignorance, but it’s obvious you’re entirely clueless how this internet thing works. If you want something to disappear, DON’T BRING ATTENTION TO IT. Also, once something is on the internet, it’s out there. For life. It’s saved on a hard drive somewhere, and always will be.

I have but one question for you. I know I’ll probably never get an answer, but I have to pose it. Honestly, what did you expect would happen here? To expound, Did you honestly expect that speaking with The Sun (one of the most blatantly exploitative ”news” magazines in existence) would get millions of people who were making fun of people with mental handicaps to just stop because it was making someone cry? While I don’t condone the actions of the people who stole your daughter’s photo, I can’t believe that a grown adult could possibly be that naive. You talked about how distraught the knowledge of this meme made your daughter, and if I’m being 100% honest here, the person to blame for that is you. This is your daughter, your MENTALLY HANDICAPPED daughter. The burden of protection and responsibility is even heavier for you because of her condition. You could have waged your fruitless crusade without causing her the (undoubtedly high) level of trauma this has. But you chose not to. You chose to expose her to this, completely unnecessarily. Not only could she have lived her entire life without knowing this was happening, she could have gone her entire life without 99% of the population knowing she was even the subject of the meme in the first place. I don’t like to think the worst of people, but obviously your need for publicity overshadowed your mothering instinct and long term thinking in this situation, and that’s a shame. I wish your daughter all the best. She’s going to have a long road ahead of her now that she’s been exposed to this venom, and I don’t want to end this letter without reiterating that long road has been partially paved by your actions.

Josh Fonner (theronin23)

Photo via Josh Fonner on Reddit

You might also like Scumbag Steve’s letter to Annoying Facebook Girl. And if you live near Cocoa Beach, FL, you can catch Josh in a production of RENT this week.

  • Head

    Well said. Good for you, dude.

  • Anonymous

    I agree with Josh 100%.  While I’m sure Heidi isn’t cloistered from anyone else who might know the meme, her mother is most assuredly guilty of making this a big deal and blowing it way out of proportion.  Josh said what needed to be said and it needs to be out there so others can see it as well.  The public has a short attention span when it comes to this type of thing… I believe South Park did a great episode on memes that is a great reference for this as well.

  • Anonymous

    Josh, you are a fine and understanding young man, and I applaud your letter to Heidi. I hope she takes your words to heart and overcomes this sad event in her life. I was going to go off on a rant about all the unfeeling people in the world that enjoy the hurt and heartache of others not as fortunate as themselves. But upon further reflection I choose not to dignify these slags with my time or anger.

  • Compman1a

    Josh has my respect. Well put sir.

  • Scott Allen Abfalter


  • rekabis

    Josh Fonner: *claps slowly* Well said, Sir; well said.

    Liz Crowter: Please educate yourself on that thing called the Barbara Streisand Effect before you decide to “protect” your daughter with any more actions:

  • lukus

    One of the best and articulate things I’ve read in a long time.  Very well done, sir; and consider a career in writing.

  • Shannon Gausten

    I am SO HAPPY someone had the balls to say this, and did so in a highly intelligent and to-the-point way. 
    I can’t believe what a horrid twit that woman is, and it is clearly a grab at her fifteen minutes at the expense of her daughter. 

  • chris

    Josh, you are a total fool.  You know a great way to avoid getting made fun of?  Don’t post a hundred pictures of yourself on the internet.  What the hell did you think was going to happen?  And yes, memes appear out of thin air, and there are some victims, but you really think targeting the mother would be constructive?  And you think posting this letter would bring any less attention to the subject?  What a hypocrite.  Not to mention a cam whore.

    • Guest

      If I remember correctly, Josh’s pictures were just taken from his Myspace. If you don’t have any photos of you on Facebook/Myspace/Twitter/whatever, then all the more power to you. But having pictures on social networking sites does not make you a “cam whore” and should not give people the license to distribute the pictures with malicious captions. Responding to the girl’s mother doesn’t really give more publicity than her original reaction did, and his note has the potential to benefit people. 

    • Josh Fonner

      I really don’t think I can truly respond to this poorly constructed, almost entirely assumed and erroneous, brainless tirade without dropping IQ points. Suffice it to say, the “Guest” who replied to this is 100% right.

      • chris

        My bad dude, so I guess you weren’t the one who posted a bunch of topless (AND NAKED) pictures of yourself on the dimensions forums, and god knows where else?  Yes, a 2 second search of “Josh Fonner” brought those gems front and center.  Very discrete!  

        Posting pictures like that to the internet is taking a flame thrower to a gas canister the size of infinity, and it doesn’t take a man of your TREMENDOUS IQ to figure that out.  

        • Josh Fonner

          Here’s the rub, Chris. I don’t care. I have never tried to be discrete, quite the opposite if we’re being honest. I’m not bitching about the attention. The only time I’ve EVER bitched about it was when the Westboro Baptist Church used my picture, and that’s because I despise them. (Save for Westboro) I’ve never asked anyone to stop using my pictures, and I’ve never personally fought a crusade to get anything taken down. I brought it to the attention of the internet that both the fat emo and eat the batman pictures were me. I’m not embarrassed about anything that’s out there. Anything. You know why? Because those pictures that you found were posted for the enjoyment of others. You don’t enjoy them? Don’t look at them. There are MANY people out there who have nude photos on the internet and don’t care. My idol, Amanda Palmer, for instance. 

          Also, spew as much dimwitted and ridiculous venom as you like, the fact of the matter is, you googled my name. Thanks! :)

          • chris

            Tell you what, lets just agree that the Westboro Baptist Chuch are a bunch of idiots.    Annnd fin.

          • Josh Fonner

            Tell you what, I’d rather not let go of the fact that you just made a monumental ass of yourself and tried to just go “Well…agree to disagree”. While we may agree that WBC are scum, you get to stew in your stupidity, sir.

          • chris

            You’re seriously trying to prolong an internet argument?  Is that what you’re made of?

          • Josh Fonner

            I didn’t continue anything, Chris. I was just telling you, you don’t get off that easy. You acted a fool, got shown up, and then tried to back out. I’m just letting you know I know. There’s no argument from then on.

          • chris

            Aww snap, shown up by a male camwhore who gets his feelings hurt by his own terrifying self pictures and then claims no hurt feelings, who feels qualified to give motherly advice to special needs parents and feels the need to post those letters to the internet for his own attention.  I knew you were a scum bag when you were insecure enough to reply to a random guy on a forum, the lowest of all activities.  Somebody make a meme of this guy.

          • guest

            So what you’re saying is that Josh is a great guy for doing all this stuff, and then re-establishing that you’re a douche. Good argument, I agree.

          • Josh Fonner

            Obvious unsuccessful troll is Obviously unsuccessful. 

          • Dietrich Von Bacon

            You looked up his nudie pics. Is that what you’re made of?

          • Anonymous
  • Bryan J. Maloney

    Worthy of the “Slow Orson Welles Clap” meme.

  • Other Guest

    Oh Josh. You do so love being a meme.

    • Josh Fonner

      You bet your ass.

  • Meersb

    Way to go Josh!  You seem to have a very level head and would most likely be a pleasure to meet.  Sorry you were the butt of a joke.  I have to admit I did laugh at your meme but do feel a bit ashamed after reading your letter. 

    • Josh Fonner

      Don’t feel ashamed. Never be ashamed by something that makes you laugh, REAL mirth is one of the truest human emotions.And you know what? I’ve said it before, I’ll say it again, laughing with me, laughing at me, you’re laughing. I’m just glad I could be a part of that.

      • Hume

        Your attitude is surpassingly awesome. You just made my day, and it looks like you made seven other people’s days, too.

        You’re a joy machine.

      • Schticky

         That’s, possibly, the coolest thing I’ve ever read.  Most people take themselves way too seriously. Thank you for being awesome.

  • James

    Hey Chris, when you find yourself at the bottom of a hole you cant get out of, its best to stop digging. Well done, Josh

  • Guest

    People need to be able to see and recognize that there are real people behind hurtful memes and what amounts to cyberbullying. Yes, these two have turned themselves into martyrs but change never comes from people keeping their mouths shut and pretending problems don’t exist. The only way to achieve accountability is to advocate for solutions to the problem and that means putting yourself out there, just like these two women have done. This is one of the most ignorant and privileged perspectives I’ve read on the whole thing.

    • Josh Fonner

      And ruin lives in the process? Heidi is not a woman. Heidi is a CHILD that has a condition that would make this concept of memes almost impossible to understand,

      This is not “cyberbullying”. This was not a pointed attack (UNLIKE my experience where I was tracked down and personally harassed at times.). The picture was not used as a direct attack on Heidi, but as a nameless token of a stereotype. Quit hiding behind buzzwords. I’m not condoning ANYONE’s actions in this situation. I’m simply letting Liz know what she just did to her daughter.

  • ThisGuy

    Well written sir, I would like to subscribe to your news letter. ^_^

  • B S

    Interesting, but I want to know; dressing with those emo/goth tendancies, where does a dude that big buy his clothes? Speaking as someone who’s 6’4″ and over 200lbs myself, not exactly an “off the rack” kinda fellow, and likes black clothes with little skulls on them myself, inquiring minds want to know. ^^;

  • Newt

    Way late to the party, but have to comment: Josh, you are good folk. That’s all.

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