In a story that could not exist in any year other than 2017, last week author Robbie Tripp wrote a love letter on Instagram to his wife, Sarah Tripp, that infamously began with this: “I love this woman and her curvy body.”
The letter went on to say that Tripp was teased growing up for liking women “on the thicker side” but upon learning more about feminism, he saw that it was the media’s obsession with one standard of beauty that was at the root of society’s lack of admiration for curvier women.
At first, the internet loved it. But with time and further analysis, the internet changed its mind.
Who does this guy think he is, thinking he’s great because he dares to love a woman who’s not a size 2? Why is this guy getting so much attention for merely being a human male who isn’t a complete jerk? Is he looking for praise? Does he want a medal?
Those were the questions that swirled around the internet the entirety of the weekend, and remain swirling even now, as hit pieces are written about Tripp’s letter, and everything wrong with it.
On the brighter side, there have been memes. So many memes.
On the internet, people like the Tripps are what’s commonly known as “Milkshake Ducks,” aka a person on the internet who is at one second admired and then the next second put on blast for a number of viable reasons. Think of Ken Bone from one of the later presidential debates. At first, he was adored. Then, upon further analysis in regards to the fact that he remained an undecided voter in October just one month before the 2016 election, the internet issued a: “Hey, wait a minute, screw this guy.”
Such was the case for Robbie Tripp when the internet, upon further investigation, started to see the post not as a love letter, but as a problem. The backlash was alive and well. Given an opportunity to respond to the initial backlash, Tripp said in an email that he still feels passionately about the letter, and its intentions.
“At the end of the day, anyone who hates my post is hating on a guy expressing his love and adoration for his wife. It’s that simple,” Tripp said. “I don’t see how some people can try to conjure up some dark ulterior motive from a simple post about a man loving and celebrating his beautiful wife. The outpouring of love from around the world has continued to be overwhelmingly positive, and I think it’s sad that there is a small group of people looking to inject negativity into this story. Sarah and I both know that whenever there is something good and positive in the world, there is going to be mean and sarcastic people who try to bring it down. We choose to focus on the positive and continue inspiring people with our message of love and positivity.”
“I don’t see how some people can try to conjure up some dark ulterior motive from a simple post about a man loving and celebrating his beautiful wife.”
But another essential part of being a “Milkshake Duck” involves the internet finding out that the duck, so to speak, made offensive or distasteful statements in the past. And that’s exactly what the internet found upon researching Robbie and Sarah Tripp.
When the internet dug deep, they found racist and transphobic remarks from Robbie Tripp, as well as racist tweets from Sarah Tripp, from as recently as 2015.
“Bruce, always a Bruce,” Robbie wrote in a tweet that’s now been deleted that is clearly in reference to Caitlyn Jenner. “Clothes, makeup, surgery and public acceptance still won’t change how you came into the world.”
One of Sarah Tripp’s offensive tweets, which has been deleted as well, read: “My brother walked into my apartment today for dinner and I told him I made chicken and watermelon. He responded, ‘Are we black now?’”
“It’s unfortunate that this positive story has led to some mean-spirited people digging for any reason to try and bring us down and make us out to be something we’re not,” Robbie Tripp said in an email. “We’re obviously embarrassed by those old tweets we posted when we had just a few hundred followers, before we even knew each other and when we were young, foolish college kids without any real awareness of our future careers in social media. None of those old tweets reflect our current views or who we are today. Sarah and I have come a long way in the past few years, growing and evolving as human beings and we have a strong commitment to spreading love and positivity through social media.”
“We’re obviously embarrassed by those old tweets we posted when we had just a few hundred followers”
Though Tripp said in his statement that he and his wife “were young” when they wrote those tweets, the Jenner tweet is from 2015. One from Robbie mocking black men who wear do-rags is from 2014.
When asked to elaborate on precisely how his views had changed, and whether he now recognizes Caitlyn Jenner as Caitlyn Jenner, Tripp simply said, “I’ve said all I wanted to say on both those issues in my original email.”