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Go Titans One is a controversial photoshop meme featuring an exploitable photograph of a young boy with down syndrome holding a sign that reads “Go Titans One,” which is often replaced with insulting messages.
The original photograph of Nashville, Tennessee resident Adam Holland posing with his drawing was taken during an art class for mentally disabled students at Vanderbilt University in 2004. However, the image didn’t gain notoriety until in 2006, when a page titled “Retarded Handicap Sign Generator” was launched to allow users to customize the text in the sign (shown below, right).
On April 20th, 2007, a post was published on the Angry Medic blog featuring an edited sign with the words “I used to be a Cambridge medic!” (shown below, left). On July 10th, 2008, the Internet humor blog Belch posted about homeschooling special needs children and highlighted the photo with an edited sign reading “I hit that poo-see” (shown below, right).
On February 24th, 2009, the Internet humor blog The Chive featured an edited version of Holland’s photo with the sign reading “I can count to potato” (shown below). On May 24th, 2010, Fark user Lou Stoolz used the “poo-see” variation to comment on an article about a mentally handicapped Florida man claiming to have been raped by a 14-year-old girl.
On July 16th, 2012, a Quickmeme page titled “Ben the Retarded Kid” was created with an image macro series based on the photograph, although it didn’t see any significant growth on the site. On November 25th, FunnyJunk user misturzero reuploaded the “poo-see” version of Holland’s photo under the title “Cunt Destroyer”.
On April 25th, 2013, the Nashville City Paper reported that Tennessee residents Bernard and Pamela Holland were suing three different defendants for using edited photographs of their son Adam without consent. Among the accused were the Florida radio station WHPT-FM, which used Holland’s photograph as part of a segment titled “Retarded News” on the Cowhead Show, Flickr user Russell LaLevee and owner of the website Sign Generator Dave Brown. The couple sued each defendant for $3 million in compensation and $3 million in punitive damages for a total of $18 million. In the coming week, the lawsuit was reported on by several news sites, including the New York Daily News, The Huffington Post and Salon. On April 29th, the Holland family’s lawyer Larry Crain spoke to the television news station WSMV about the lawsuit (shown below).
Nashville City Paper – Photo of Nashville teen with Down Syndrome spawns Internet meme
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