‘Bean dad’ apologizes for boastful tweets about making his nine-year-old go hungry for six hours until she learned to use a can opener
- Musician and podcaster John Roderick, 52, earned the nickname ‘Bean Dad’ after sharing a story about what he considers a ‘teaching moment’
- His daughter was hungry and asked for help making beans because she didn’t know how to use a can opener, having never been taught
- Instead of showing her, Roderick, who is from Seattle, insisted she work it out on her own and said she couldn’t eat until she figured it out
- She spent six hours failing, during which there were ‘tears’ and frustrated groans
- While Roderick shared the story as a triumph in parenting, Twitter users accused him of being abusive and cruel
- The podcaster has now issued an apology for his behavior, and for ‘reminding people… of abuse they’d experienced at the hand of a parent’
- He also addressed resurfaced tweets ‘from his early days on Twitter’ in which he used racist, anti-Semitic language
- ‘I thought then that being an ally meant taking the slurs of the oppressors and flipping them to mock racism, sexism, homophobia, and bigotry,’ he wrote
The man behind the furious ‘bean dad’ Twitter controversy has issued an ‘apology’ after sparking outrage with boastful tweets about making his nine-year-old daughter go hungry for six hours while she worked out how to open a can of beans by herself.
Seattle musician and podcaster John Roderick, 52, found himself at the center of a furious controversy over the weekend when he shared a lengthy Twitter thread in which he detailed how he’d refused to help his hungry daughter work out how to use a can opener, and left her struggling with the tool for hours on end until she figured out how it worked.
The tweets resulted in a bitter backlash that prompted Roderick to delete his Twitter account, however he has now spoken out about the fury in an apology posted to his website. There, the podcaster offered excuses for his ‘insensitive’ behavior, insisting that he purposefully made himself sound like an ‘a**hole’ and a ‘d***head’ in an attempt to be funny.
Speaking out: ‘Bean dad’ John Roderick has issued an apology for boasting about making his nine-year-old daughter go hungry while she struggled to use a can opener on a tin of beans
Details: The 52-year-old, from Seattle, shared a statement on his personal website, where he claimed that he had framed himself as an ‘a**hole dad’ on purpose in an attempt to be funny
Fury: The musician and podcaster prompted fury over the weekend when he shared a 23-tweet thread about the ‘teaching moment’ that many labeled as ‘abusive’ and ‘sadistic’
‘I framed the story with me as the a**hole dad because that’s my comedic persona and my fans and friends know it’s “a bit”,’ he wrote, adding: ‘I reread the story and saw clearly that I’d framed it so poorly, so insensitively.
‘Bean dad’ John Roderick’s apology in full
I deactivated my Twitter yesterday in a panic. I had to reflect on what I’d done and the hurt I’d caused and my mind was clouded by an unprecedented flow of new information. I want to acknowledge and make amends for the injuries I caused. I have many things to atone for. My parenting story’s insensitivity and the legacy of hurtful language in my past are both profound failures. I want to confront them directly.
My story about my daughter and the can of beans was poorly told. I didn’t share how much laughing we were doing, how we had a bowl of pistachios between us all day as we worked on the problem, or that we’d both had a full breakfast together a few hours before. Her mother was in the room with us all day and alternately laughing at us and telling us to be quiet while she worked on her laptop. We all took turns on the jigsaw puzzle.
I framed the story with me as the a**hole dad because that’s my comedic persona and my fans and friends know it’s “a bit”.
What I didn’t understand when posting that story, was that a lot of the language I used reminded people very viscerally of abuse they’d experienced at the hand of a parent. The idea that I would withhold food from her, or force her to solve a puzzle while she cried, or bind her to the task for hours without a break all were images of child abuse that affected many people very deeply. Rereading my story, I can see what I’d done.
I was ignorant, insensitive to the message that my “pedant dad” comedic persona was indistinguishable from how abusive dads act, talk and think.
I woke up yesterday to find that I had become #BeanDad. I was a locus for a tremendous outpouring of anger and grief. It took me hours to fully grasp. I reread the story and saw clearly that I’d framed it so poorly, so insensitively. Bean Dad, full of braggadocio and d***head swagger, was hurting people. I’d conjured an abusive parent that many people recognized from real life.
I am deeply sorry for having precipitated more hurt in the world, for having prolonged or exacerbated it by fighting back and being flippant when confronted, and for taking my Twitter feed offline yesterday instead of facing the music. I wish the parents I modeled didn’t exist; I wish no one had to grow up with a parent who tortured them physically or emotionally. I would never intentionally make light of those experiences and I’ll never underestimate again the pain I can cause with some poorly chosen words and by acting defensively when challenged.
As for the many racist, anti-Semitic, hurtful and slur-filled tweets from my early days on Twitter I can say only this: all of those tweets were intended to be ironic, sarcastic. I thought then that being an ally meant taking the slurs of the oppressors and flipping them to mock racism, sexism, homophobia, and bigotry. I am humiliated by my incredibly insensitive use of the language of sexual assault in casual banter. It was a lazy and damaging ideology, that I continued to believe long past the point I should’ve known better that because I was a hipster intellectual from a diverse community it was ok for me to joke and deploy slurs in that context. It was not. I realized, sometime in the early part of the decade, helped by real-life friends and Twitter friends too, that my status as a straight white male didn’t permit me to “repurpose” those slurs as people from disenfranchised communities might do. They were injurious regardless of my intent, because the words themselves have power and because actual violence is often prefaced by people saying, “I’m not racist, but…”
That was wrong, so I stopped.
Yesterday those old tweets resurfaced and hurt a lot of people anew. People who are close to me, people in my community who couldn’t square those words with the person they know me to be. And people who don’t know me, going about their business yesterday, had to see those awful slurs and feel the hurt those words inspire. They had to suffer this a**hole #BeanDad casually demeaning them and their friends. I deeply regret having ever used those words. I do not want to spread more hate in the world. I want the opposite.
My language wasn’t appropriate then or now and reflecting on that has been part of my continuing education as an adult who wants to be a good ally. That education is ongoing, and this experience will have a profound effect on the way I conduct myself throughout the rest of my life.
I’m a middle-aged, middle-class straight white male and I try to be cognizant of that and of the responsibility my privileges entail in everything I do. In this case, it was precisely my privilege of not living in an abusive family, of not being a member of a community that routinely experiences real trauma, that caused me to so grossly misjudge the impact of the language I chose.
I have a lot more reflecting to do in the coming days so I’ll be taking a hiatus from my public life to let some of these lessons sink in. I apologize to my partners, my friends, and to all the people affected by my words for the hurt I caused.
‘Bean Dad, full of braggadocio and d***head swagger, was hurting people. I’d conjured an abusive parent that many people recognized from real life.’
‘I want to acknowledge and make amends for the injuries I caused,’ Roderick said.
‘I have many things to atone for. My parenting story’s insensitivity and the legacy of hurtful language in my past are both profound failures. I want to confront them directly.’
He went on to share more details from the incident — which is originally described in his Twitter thread as a ‘teaching moment’ — insisting that the story was ‘poorly told’ and that both he and his daughter were ‘laughing’ throughout much of the time she spent attempting to use a can opener for the first time.
Roderick also claimed that his daughter was not left hungry because they ‘had a bowl of pistachios between us’ throughout the day, and they had both ‘had a full breakfast… a few hours earlier’.
‘My story about my daughter and the can of beans was poorly told,’ he wrote. ‘I didn’t share how much laughing we were doing, how we had a bowl of pistachios between us all day as we worked on the problem, or that we’d both had a full breakfast together a few hours before.
‘Her mother was in the room with us all day and alternately laughing at us and telling us to be quiet while she worked on her laptop. We all took turns on the jigsaw puzzle.’
Describing his Twitter thread as ‘ignorant’ and ‘insensitive’, Roderick acknowledged how his framing of the incident ‘reminded people very viscerally of abuse they’d experienced at the hand of a parent’, saying he understood how the tale, which detailed how his daughter sobbed while trying to figure out the can opener ‘jigsaw’, had conjured ‘images of abuse’ for many.
‘Bean dad’ also apologized for failing to address the controversy head-on, admitting that his decision to simply delete his Twitter account was ‘flippant’ and actually ‘exacerbated’ the controversy.
‘I would never intentionally make light of those experiences and I’ll never underestimate again the pain I can cause with some poorly chosen words and by acting defensively when challenged,’ he wrote.
Roderick went on to address ‘racist, anti-Semitic’ tweets that he had posted during ‘his early days on Twitter’, which were resurfaced as a result of the controversy.
In the tweets, which have been screengrabbed and reposted online, Roderick wrote offensive statements like: ‘Jews ruin everybody’s fun,’ and, ‘I’m going to rape you the next time I see you. Bad rape, not funny rape.’
Another said: ‘My armored car just arrived and… SURPRISE! Full of Jew Lawyers! We’re talking guns, taxing, then SUING THE SURVIVORS!’
Once again the podcaster excused his behavior as a misunderstanding, explaining that he had posted ‘slurs of the oppressors’ in an ‘ironic’ and ‘sarcastic’ way, in order to mock their actions.
‘…All of those tweets were intended to be ironic, sarcastic,’ he claimed.
‘I thought then that being an ally meant taking the slurs of the oppressors and flipping them to mock racism, sexism, homophobia, and bigotry.’
The apology was met with a very mixed reaction online, with some applauding Roderick’s decision to address the controversy and face the blame for his actions — while others slammed his explanations and excuses.
One such user wrote: ‘Bean dad’s apology: Sorry I slightly exaggerated abusing my kid. I kept her energy up with a handful of pistachios, & my wife was watching the whole time. Oh, also sorry I was anti-Black, anti-Semitic, anti-gay, etc. etc., but I’m a middle-class white dude – what’d you expect??’
Another commented: ‘Saw #BeanDad’s “apology” and I don’t buy it. That’s too many details to have left out & it’s mighty convenient to have a persona to blame this on. See also the things he’s said in the past that he tries to sweep under the rug with the same excuses. Hard pass on the fauxpology.’
‘Bean Dad’s apology is bulls**t and lies. His old tweets weren’t him “trying to reclaim slurs in a comedic manner” or whatever the f**k,’ one user raged.
‘These are genuinely held anti-semitic views and horribly triggering attacks on people. These are purposefully violent and mean things.’
Roderick’s apology comes days after his January 2 Twitter thread that first sparked the controversy, when users began bashing his decision to boast about letting his daughter go hungry.
Roderick’s 23-tweet thread detailed how he insisted his hungry nine-year-old daughter work out a can opener’s mechanisms without guidance, telling her she wouldn’t eat until she’d solved it.
‘So, yesterday my daughter (9) was hungry and I was doing a jigsaw puzzle so I said over my shoulder “make some baked beans,”’ he began his thread.
‘She said, “How?” like all kids do when they want YOU to do it, so I said, “Open a can and put it in pot.” She brought me the can and said “Open it how?”
‘”With a can opener!” I said, incredulous. She brought me the can opener and we both stated at it. I realized I’d never taught her to use it. Most cans now have pull tops. I felt like a dope.’
But instead of spending 10 seconds teaching her how to use it, he made her figure it out herself, though she had never used one before.
‘So I said, “How do you think this works?” She studied it and applied it to the top of the can, sideways. She struggled for a while and with a big, dramatic sigh said, “Will you please just open the can?” Apocalypse Dad was overjoyed: a Teaching Moment just dropped in my lap!
‘I said, “this little device is designed to do one thing: open cans. Study the parts, study the can, figure out what the can-opener inventor was thinking when they tried to solve the problem.”
After this speech, Roderick returned to his jigsaw puzzle, ignoring his daughter’s ‘grunting and groaning’ as she tried to open the can.
He admitted that ‘spatial orientation, process visualization, and order of operation’ are not her strong suits, but still didn’t seem bothered to help her.
‘Eventually she collapsed in a frustrated heap,’ he said. ‘I said, “Explain the parts.”‘
His daughter pointed out the wheel and gears and deduced what they did.
‘I said, “The tool is made to be pleasing but it doesn’t have any superfluous qualities. Everything that moves does so for a reason.”
‘She said, “I hate you.” I’m sure she believes that she does. I said, “You understand everything except how the tool addresses the can.” She signed.
‘At this point she said, “I don’t want baked beans” and marched off. Apocalypse Dad went into full “The Road” Mode!
‘“Sweetheart,”‘ he said, ‘”neither of us will eat another bite today until we get into this can of beans.” She screamed “AUGH!” like Lucy Van Pelt. She read a book for awhile.
Eventually she got back to try opening the can. Still, Roderick offered her no more guidance, but helped her work on ‘anger management and perseverance.’
‘She suggested she open the can with a hammer. There were tears,’ he said.
Roderick said she’d been working on it on and off for six hours before finally puncturing the can.
‘I’d been tempted many times along the way to guide her hand,’ he wrote. ‘I wanted her to experience the magnificence of the can opener SO MUCH I couldn’t stand the suspense. Neither of us likes baked beans that much — the cupboards are bare — so it seemed like a paltry reward for this work.
‘Many times throughout the day she yelled at me, “My brain is fuzzy! I can’t think of anything else to try!!!” and I’d say, “When your brain doesn’t work, trust your hands.”‘
Once she finally managed to open the can — after six hours of trying without help, having missed lunch because her dad wouldn’t let her eat — Roderick insists that his daughter was ‘proud.’
‘I’m proud of her too,’ he said. ‘I know I’m infuriating. I know this is parenting theater in some ways. I suffer from lack of preservation myself, and like all parents throughout history I’m trying to correct my own mistakes in the way I educate my child.
‘The Swing-a-Way can opener is a little voodoo doll for us now. It will reappear as an allegory many more times in her life, you can be sure. She knows this too. But this is an allegory of triumph. I wish I had more of t hose for myself. I wish I had more stories like this.’
Roderick’s thread quickly went viral, becoming one of the most buzzed-about topics on the app on Sunday.
Trending: Roderick’s thread quickly went viral, becoming one of the most buzzed-about topics on the app on Sunday — but most commenters were critisizing him
But while he shared the story boastfully, believing it a triumph that reflected well on his parenting, many Twitter users were absolutely horrified and have insisted that his daughter will grow up to hate him.
‘Kiddo was already hungry when she approached dad and then was made to work on figuring out the can opener for six hours AFTER THAT,’ wrote one critic. ‘Meaning she most likely had breakfast, got a can of beans for dinner, and that was her food for the entire day.’
Another tweeted: ‘I’m mad for that kid. She’s not going to remember it as a fun daddy/daughter learning experience. She’s going to remember being hungry, mad, and frustrated.’
‘So Bean Dad has been on my mind all day and I think the answer to his awfulness is right there in the 1st tweet. His daughter asked him an honest question (How?) and his automatic response is to assume a 9 year old is manipulating him,’ wrote a third.
‘Bean Dad, like many bad parents, has taught his daughter essential lessons: your needs are less important than mine, I will not help you when you ask me for help, I will praise myself for denying you help, my ego is always more important than you, I cannot be trusted,’ wrote one young man.
Criticism: Thousands of people have slammed is parenting with many going so far as to call it abusive
‘That it was a can of beans when she was hungry sucks, but how would he have reacted if she asked for help with something more important? A bully, threats at school, a health problem, an allergy, an insecurity, a crush, a breakup?’ he went on.
‘It doesn’t matter,’ he said. With this, he’s taught her what will happen — that in the name of self-sufficiency he will keep shoving her away even as she asks him for the wisdom he supposedly has, but does not want to offer. Maybe she’ll ask someone else. Maybe she’ll just carry it.’
Several have gone so far as to accuse ‘Bean Dad’ of child abuse.
‘Almost every single disabled and neurodivergent person can tell you a story of child abuse they’ve experienced that is similar to the way bean dad abused his child. Make sure your advocacy against child abuse includes disabled and neurodivergent children,’ wrote one.
Another called it ‘a good dad thread for everyone currently reliving childhood trauma because of Bean Dad outing himself as a sadistic clinical narcissist by bragging about being cruel to his daughter as if it’s funny.’
Can’t take the heat! By Sunday night, Roderick — who had temporarily changed his bio to include the nickname ‘Bean Dad’ and seemed proud of his notoriety — had deleted his account
‘Your reaction to the bean dad is a great litmus test for whether you’ll be confused or not when you kid stops talking to you someday,’ wrote another, echoing tweets from several others who are sure his daughter will go no-contact with him when she gets older.
The thread was only up for about 24 hours before the backlash dominated Twitter, with some users scouring his old tweets and finding his racist, homophobic, and antisemitic jokes.
By Sunday night, Roderick — who had temporarily changed his bio to include the nickname ‘Bean Dad’ and seemed proud of his notoriety — had deleted his account.
Meanwhile, his ‘Omnibus’ podcast cohost Ken Jennings came to his defense.
‘If this reassures anyone, I personally know John to be (a) a loving and attentive dad who (b) tells heightened-for-effect stories about his own irascibility on like ten podcasts a week. This site is so dumb,’ the Jeopardy! champ tweeted.
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