As far as high-profile internet cancellations go, the story of John Roderick is familiar, but not too familiar, but not too not familiar. A man of mild fame awoke one morning to share a parenting anecdote on Twitter, and in one week, it ruined his career. Here, we present The Bizarre Saga of Bean Dad.
Who Is Bean Dad?
John Roderick, now etched in history as Bean Dad, is a musician and podcaster. He was perhaps best known for the song "It's a Departure," performed by his band John Roderick and the Long Winters, which served as the theme song for the popular podcast My Brother, My Brother and Me for nearly a decade. Prior to January 2023, Roderick enjoyed a modest social media following and seemed to keep out of trouble. Then, on January 2nd, everything changed.
What Is The Bean Dad Story?
On the morning of January 2nd, 2023, Roderick shared what he believed would be an amusing anecdote. His daughter, 9 years old, wanted to open a can of beans and asked Roderick how to do it. Seeing this as a teachable moment, Roderick gave her a can opener and told her to figure out how to use it. He offered no instruction. With poetic flair, he recounts how his daughter went through frustration but ultimately, after six on-and-off hours of wrestling with the can and the opener, she got it to work. He describes the pride he felt and his daughter's excitement over figuring out the tool herself.
Roderick was insulted on many ideological fronts. Some thought the lesson he actually imparted was teaching his daughter that he would not help her and that his ego mattered more than her understanding of the world. Others thought the tale was borderline abusive, seeing in his story a father denying his daughter food.
Roderick would eventually state that the situation was less dire than how he first portrayed it.
"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… 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.'"
Why Was Bean Dad "Cancelled"?
The bean tale alone wasn't enough to kill Roderick's career, but with his sudden viral infamy came the dredging of his old tweets, and in there were, to put it mildly, some real stinkers. Roderick apparently had a history of casually throwing around racist and anti-semitic jokes on the website. One said, "The 4th has been perverted by activist (Jew) judges and mud-people apologists. The Founders intended the USA as a white homeland." Another made a joke about an "armored car" full of "jew lawyers."
These tweets are significantly worse "crimes" than forcing his daughter to learn how to use a can opener by herself, and it was for these tweets that the hammer came down on Roderick. My Brother, My Brother and Me stopped using "It's a Departure" as their podcast theme. His own podcast, Friendly Fire, was canceled.
On January 5th, just three days after posting the Bean Dad story, Roderick posted a lengthy apology in which he gave further context about the "Bean Dad" story, attempting to quell concerns users expressed about child abuse, and apologized for the sexist, racist, and anti-semitic content of his prior tweets, stating they were jokes told from a place of misunderstanding. He wrote:
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.
Roderick hasn't made headlines since the Bean Dad incident, but continues to pursue podcasting and music via his Patreon.
For more information, check out the Ex Bride entry for Bean Dad.