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Honey Boo Boo Child is the self-given nickname of six-year-old Alana Thompson, a recurring cast member of the TLC reality television show Toddlers & Tiaras. She is known for her outlandish behavior and drinking “Go-Go Juice”, a Red Bull and Mountain Dew concoction that caught the attention of mainstream media for its perceived health risks.
Though Alana does not have an official website or participate in social media herself, her family runs an official Facebook fan page, which has more than 6300 likes as of August 2012. Fans and critics of her have shared posts about her via the Twitter hashtag #HoneyBooBoo and the Tumblr tag “Honey Boo Boo.”
Toddlers and Tiaras
The season five premiere of Toddlers & Tiaras, which aired on January 4th, 2012, featured a segment on rural Georgia native, Alana Thompson. The six-year-old was shown in talking head bits explaining that she was participating in beauty pageants for the money, stating “a dollar makes me holler,” and calling herself “Honey Boo Boo Child.” The next morning, this clip was featured on Best Week Ever and Jezebel, with coverage on the Tosh.0 blog on January 6th. Between January and February, two instances of the clip on YouTube received a combined total of nearly 2.4 million views.
Video remixes and parodies of Alana’s clips began appearing on YouTube three days after her first episode aired.
Alana began to gain more mainstream media attention after she and her mother, June Shannon, did interviews with Doctor Drew on February 2nd (shown below, left) and Good Morning America on February 8th, defending the use of caffeine-laden “Go-Go Juice” to psych Alana up before pageants. Immediately following their media appearances, the interviews were covered by the NY Daily News, the Daily Mail and CBS Atlanta, as well as Buzzfeed and Jezebel.
On February 17th, 2012, June, Alana and three other mother-daughter teams from Toddlers & Tiaras made an appearance on Anderson Cooper’s daytime talk show Anderson (shown above, right). During the program, Cooper gave June a makeover, placing her and Alana in similar outfits. Photos of the makeover were shared on Buzzfeed, Jezebel, The Frisky and the Tosh.0 blog.
Here Comes Honey Boo Boo
On May 31st, 2012, US Weekly reported that Alana and her family would be starring in their own spin-off series, Here Comes Honey Boo Boo on TLC. Contracted for six half-hour episodes, the series debuted on August 8th. The day of the premiere, Alana and her mother June were interviewed on CNN to plug the show.
The show’s pilot episode was met by mixed reviews: A.V. Club gave the episode a C-, calling it a “train wreck”, Salon called it “fascinating” but also “an exploitative mess” and the Washington Post said the show was “horrifying and yet strangely sweet.” This sentiment was carried across a variety of blogs and news sites including USAToday, Gawker, Good Morning America, TIME Entertainment and the Los Angeles Times.
Mama June’s Sex Offender Boyfriend Scandal
On October 23rd, 2014, TMZ reported that the child star’s mother June Shannon (a.k.a Mama June) is dating her former boyfriend Mark Anthony McDaniel, Sr., a registered sex offender who was recently released from prison after serving ten years on conviction of aggravated child molestation, citing an anonymous source and a photograph of Shannon and McDaniel cuddled up in a hotel room (shown below).
On the following day, TLC announced the cancellation of Here Comes Honey Boo Boo in the wake of the news reports that June Shannon is romantically involved with a man convicted of child molestation. The studio’s spokesperson commented:
“We are currently reassessing the reports, but we do not currently have Here Comes Honey Boo Boo in production”.
Later that same day, TMZ reported that McDaniel’s victim has been identified as Anna Cardwell, Shannon’s eldest daughter who is known as Chickadee on the show, citing an anonymous source close to her.
Search for Honey Boo Boo Child began picking up in January 2012 with her show debut, similar to the rise in searches for Toddlers & Tiaras in general. A similar trend can be seen in searches for Eden Wood, another child pageant queen who began appearing on the show in 2009. Becoming a fan favorite, she went on to release a single before retiring from pageants in July 2011 and starting her own fashion line in February 2012 at age six. With the premiere of her spin off show in August 2012, search interest for Honey Boo Boo Child began to skyrocket.
Good Morning America – ‘Toddlers and Tiaras’ Controversy: Mom Defends Feeding Daughter ‘Pageant Crack’
Washington Post – ‘Here Comes Honey Boo Boo,’ the li’l Miss Sunshine we all deserve
Access Atlanta – Petition, new Facebook page demand return of ‘Honey Boo Boo’