After some moms online took issue with a non-binary person featured in YouTube star Ms. Rachel's videos, the actor who attracted the negative attention is speaking out.
It's unclear when the exact source of contention began online, however in recent weeks, conservative influencers began to criticize the "Songs for Littles" early childhood educator for including Jules Hoffman, who uses they/them pronouns, as a co-star in her videos.
Hoffman spoke out about the ongoing drama in a post on TikTok on March 2.
"I didn’t know how to respond to everything that is going on. I want to address the (elephant emoji) in the room in the best way I know how — by teaching kids about love and acceptance. Kids around us, they are absorbing and (look)ing to us for our responses, how we react, how we treat others," Hoffman wrote. "They remember what we say and what we believe and it can either bring them closer to us, to share their truest selves with us or push them away. Take care of yourselves and each other."
"Reach down deep inside you when things get icky, take some deep breaths, sure — be a crabby 🦀 for a bit, remember it’s ok to cry and then respond with ❤️ and kindness. Let’s do this fam."
The video Hoffman shared featured a kid-friendly video of them chatting with a puppet named Poppy about being true to themselves.
Hoffman did not immediately respond to TODAY.com's request for comment on March 2.
The ongoing situation has seemingly forced Ms. Rachel, whose full name is Rachel Griffin Accurso, off social media for the time being.
“I’m taking a break from TikTok for my mental health,” she sang in the video, posted earlier this week.
"Hurtful videos and comments, no matter how much attention they get, will not bring you want you want. Only love can do that," she added in the caption.
Previous TODAY.com reporting has indicated that a flashpoint in the ongoing drama seemed to stem from video by TikTok creator @Mama_Burg, who identifies herself online as a “traditional mother,” shared to the platform in February 2023.
“Cant we just have a non political kids show!” Mama_Burg captioned the video, which says "When Ms Rachel introduces they/them/their pronouns so you have to stop watching her."
It does not appear that Hoffman or Accurso ever mentioned Hoffman's preferred pronouns in a video on the main "Songs for Littles" channel — something their fans noted.
"It has come to my attention the internet wants to cancel Ms. Rachel," Tiffany, the mom behind the account "She’s Finding Joy," wrote in February. "It has to do with a person named Jules on the show. There are no conversations about Jules’ gender identity, there are no gender identity talks toward the toddlers or anything like that.
"This is just Jules mentioning on their personal TikTok account, which the kids don’t watch anyway, that they prefer to be called they, them."
Still more fans encouraged Hoffman in the comments of their response video on March 2.
"In this household, we love and accept EVERYBODY. I’m sorry you’re experiencing this Jules! Thank you for being you and all you do!!!" the top-liked comment said.