Regardless of the forward-thinking changes in our society today, bullying remains a big problem. Brad Knudson can certainly attest to that, as his adopted daughter was tormented on social media on New Year’s Eve in 2014. However, the following month he got some payback after posting a video online.
Residents of Prior Lake, Minnesota, Brad and his wife Wendy decided to adopt a child back in 2004, bringing home an African-American girl named Deidra. Unfortunately, though, her new parents suffered some racism as a result, with passers-by giving them funny looks. However, as the stares weren’t aimed at their daughter, Brad brushed it off.
In the following years, Deidra became a student at Prior Lake High School, reaching 8th grade in 2014. On New Year’s Eve that year, she was joined by a friend at her parents’ house, with the pair sending messages to their schoolmates via Snapchat. Before long, though, the situation took a nasty turn.
Deidra received some bullying messages from a set of twins, but as it was on Snapchat, the posts disappeared after being viewed. However, when the twins sent their fourth message, Deidra’s friend quickly informed Brad and Wendy. Armed with their phone, the pair recorded the message as it was played.
The content of the post was shocking, as the twins referred to Deidra as a “sl**,” a “fat a** b****,” and a “n*****.” Unsurprisingly, Brad and Wendy were taken aback by what they saw, and looked to take immediate action. After finding out the names of twins, they attempted to contact their parents, but didn’t receive a response.
As a result, Brad then called the police, with the authorities visiting Deidra’s high school soon after. They spoke to the twins and their parents, before the latter handed over their cell phone number. With that in mind, Brad called their father Deron Puro for a chat, but not even he could’ve predicted what happened next.
According to Brad, Puro didn’t see anything wrong with his children’s actions, suggesting it was normal behavior in their house. After that conversation, though, he then left Deidra’s dad a racist voicemail message, before sending an equally abusive follow-up. Furious, Brad decided to take matters into his own hands, filming a YouTube video about everything that happened.
“We have a very beautiful African-American daughter that we were very fortunate enough to adopt 11 years ago,” Brad says in the video in January 2015. He then details the events of New Year’s Eve, pulling his phone out to show the shocking message that was sent to Deidra. After that, the concerned father explains why he called the police about the incident.
“I reached out to the police, because a week-and-a-half ago some of our very good friends, their son committed suicide at the age of 13 because of bullying,” Brad continues. “At that point, it just dawned on me. I can’t have this hanging over us, and my daughter thinking the worst.”
From there, Deidra’s dad spoke about his subsequent conversation with Puro, noting his attitude to the entire situation. “I finally got a hold of this individual. I’m not going to call him a gentleman because he’s far from it,” Brad says in the video. “I talked to him, and he told me that he didn’t understand what was wrong with the [Snapchat] video.”
“He told me that I was crazy,” Brad continues. “That that’s what he did when he was a kid, and that him and his family make jokes at the house using this word all the time. So what’s the big deal? I said a few things to him that I can’t repeat on this video, then I hung up on him, because I couldn’t take it anymore.”
At that point, the adoptive dad pulls his phone out again and shares the voicemails he received from Puro. “Yeah Brad, the tides have turned, huh?” he says. “I guess you’re a n***** lover. Call me back.” Shocked, Brad then reveals his response to that message, confirming that he does indeed love his African-American daughter.
The exchange doesn’t end there, though, as Puro sent him another message. “Hey Brad, you’re a f**,” he says. “Grow up. Touch base with your kid. You’re a loser.” However, Brad then reveals his trump card, claiming that Puro was happy for him to share his name and the voicemails on social media.
With that in mind, Brad names Puro at the end of the video, before summing up his thoughts. “I just want [Puro] to own it,” he says. “And his twins that go to high school as freshmen, they can own it too. I just had to get this off my chest, I don’t know what to do.”
“Other than I love my daughter, and I don’t want her to end up committing suicide because of freaking morons like this God damn a******,” Brad concludes. “Thanks.” The online response to the video was overwhelming, with the post earning hundreds of thousands of views on YouTube.
It was soon discovered that Puro worked for a financial firm, but that all changed as a result of Brad’s video. “Deron Puro is no longer associated with Roy E. Abbott Futures, Inc. as of today, January 21,” read a statement on the firm’s website. The impact didn’t end there, though.
Deidra’s school also released a statement that confirmed their investigation was still ongoing, suggesting that the twins could be punished. However, that wasn’t enough for Brad’s wife. Indeed, Wendy looked to form an anti-bullying group herself, believing that the authorities needed to do more.
Despite Brad and Wendy’s best intentions, though, the story took a complicated turn when they learned of Deidra’s usage of the “N-word” on Snapchat during a radio interview. As a result of that, her dad released a statement of his own, claiming her actions could undermine what they were trying to do.
“Regardless of your skin color, I and my wife do not tolerate this word,” Brad said. “Our daughter is going to be reprimanded in an appropriate manner. I am extremely saddened and disappointed, because of this video she has discredited the message that we wanted to convey.”
However, Brad reiterated his commitment to what’s still a very important cause. “I hope that this does not stop our efforts to highlight the issues that still remain regarding bully and the effects it has on children,” he added. “It is still truly an epidemic and social media has allowed us to bully individuals 24 hours a day seven days a week no matter where that person lives.”