Alderson House hits back at trolls after visit to 'Spud Man' goes viral on Tiktok
Alderson House, which cares for adults with learning difficulties and mental health conditions, were recently featured in a viral Tiktok video by ‘Spud Man’, who has found fame on the internet with his hugely popular jacket potatoes and eye-catching pink mohawk hairdo.
Manager Alice O’Hare explained that the residents were huge fans of the Spud Man, and during their weekly meal planning meeting, a few of the residents asked for jacket potatoes like the “famous spud man does", so the staff decided to take a six-hour round trip to Tamworth so they could meet him.
The residents even made outfits paying tribute to Spud Man’s iconic hairdo.
Alice said: “We had a fabulous day and are very grateful to Spud Man and his team for their caring and kind customer service and the potatoes weren't bad either. The residents were delighted to have their five minutes of fame on Tiktok – and then the vile comments came.”
Unfortunately, the Spud man’s Tiktok video, which was shared on his social media pages, saw a number of cruel comments made on the post – but Alice said the staff won’t let these trolls stop their hard work getting rid of the stigma associated with mental illness:
“The team work so hard to make dreams come true for the residents and raise awareness for mental health,” she said, "These comments were so hurtful and personal they could have caused our residents to relapse or self harm.
“We were going to remove the post, but we have decided it needs to stay and the residents agreed.
"The nasty, uncalled for comments towards the people in our care who are rebuilding their lives in a cruel world won't get us down, or stop us from championing the strength it takes them every day to smash goals and raise much needed awareness.”
Alice added that the post has highlighted that this was a reminder to all to be kind and less judgmental.
"You don't know what battles people are fighting,” she added, “We are proud to be part of the Alderson House family and will continue to do us always!”
‘Spud Man’ Ben Newman has also criticised the trolls who made the comments and said that the residents’ visit was the highlight of his day.
He was “extremely saddened” to hear of the abuse they received at the hands of these “cowards” and that people needed to understand the impact “these comments have upon people and how hurtful they are upon the mental health”:
“My 'true' followers are also aware that this behaviour is not tolerated,” he said, “Sadly, I am not aware of all the comments as TikTok doesn't always notify me of these. I think ALL social media content creators have a duty of care to their viewers but I also think the platform bosses need to be doing more as comments frequently get reported and classed as 'no violation' which is wholly unacceptable.”
"It costs nothing to be kind and the stigma does need to be broken,” he added, “We serve numerous customers with mental health issues, disabilities and difficulties and accommodate their needs as much as possible. I do this by not only asking the questions I need to to support them but also so I can get to know them so they are not defined by their condition.
“I will end on the positive that the majority of people are kind and my followers loved the visit, and I personally am honoured they came to see and I was able to make their day and hopefully smile as much as they made me smile.”