Honey Boo Boo Child: Uncle Poodle Reveals Scary Past Abuse, Family Starts Clothing Line Benefiting Anti-Bullying Charity
If Honey Boo Boo Child has taught us anything on her hit TLC reality show - other than her unshakeable love of sketti - it's been self-esteem. The chubby seven-year-old beauty queen is famous for her fearless sassified lifestyle. Now the Shannon-Thompson clan wants to spread her gospel of self-love through a clothing line, and it's all for a cause close to the family's heart. No, the proceeds do not benefit pork rind research.
The first officially licensed merchandise of the family, the "Here Comes Honey Boo Boo" branded clothing is a line of t-shirts for The Brand UR in support of their anti-bullying campaign. The family says they support the charity not just because they agree with the message on principal, but because Alana's Uncle Poodle, real name Lee Thompson, was vehemently bullied growing up for being openly gay in the south.
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In an effort to empower gay youth, Uncle Poodle spoke in a video for Spirit Day, discussing the hardships of growing up gay in the South. Wearing a purple t-shirt for the occasion to voice his support for anti-bullying and LGBT youngsters, he said in a video message, "I was bullied day in and day out."
Lee Thompson revealed in the video that he suffered numerous beatings at the hands of bullies because of his sexuality while he was growing up, breaking his ribs and dislocating his jaw many times through the years. Thompson admits he's also had his car vandalized, something that he still has to endure today. "But I have a family that stands by me, supports me," he said. "I'm wearing purple today to let every youngster and every teen know it is okay to be who you are. Don't let nobody change that."
Alana Thompson started calling Lee "Uncle Poodle" after she heard her pageant coach used the term to refer to her gay friends. "Alana thought she was really talking about dogs. She wanted to know how many poodles she had, and what were their names. And I said, 'No, Alana, she's talking about gay people.' Well, that did it. All gay people are poodles to her now, and I'm her number one poodle," he told Georgia Voice.
"We've always supported gay people, even long before the show started," Mama June told E! News. "We didn't just do it because we have the show. Some people are kind of scared - what you'd call homophobes - but everyone knew Sugar Bear had a gay brother. It's not a big deal."
Fans can now have a bit of Honey Boo Boo in a wide variety of sizes and five different designed t-shirts. All the proceeds from each purchase go to The Brand UR anti-bullying scholarship. With slogans like "A Dollar Make Me Hollur," "You Better RedNeckognize," and "UR Poodle and Proud of It" the shirts cetainly look empowering. So far the Thompson/ Shannon family has raised $3,431 toward a scholarship for one lucky person.
With TLC's "Here Comes Honey Boo Boo Child" already renewed for a second season, we're betting the shirts will make an appearance on upcoming episodes.
Since premiering in August, "Here Comes Honey Boo Boo," which follows the life of former "Toddles & Tiaras" star Alana Thompson and her family -- mother "Mama," 33, father Mike "Sugar Bear" Thompson, 40, and sisters Anna "Chickadee" Shannon, 17, Jessica "Chubbs" Shannon, 15, and Lauryn "Pumpkin" Shannon, 12 - has become a nationwide sensation with more than 2.1 million viewers tuning into its Sept. 13 episode. The show even topped all individual cable and network broadcasts of the Republican National Convention on Aug. 19 with a 1.3 rating with adults 18-49.
"Here Comes Honey Boo Boo Child" has become such a hit for TLC the network ordered more "HOLLA-day" episodes, a second season, and tripled the families salary. After reportedly only earning between $5,000 and $7,000 per episode for their series, the Honey Boo Boo Child family will now reportedly pull in between $15,000 and $20,000 an episode.
The "HOLLA-day" episodes documenting Halloween, Thanksgiving and Christmas with the family will begin airing in January. Season two of the series will also begin filming in Jan. 2013.