Friday, October 16, 2009

Faux Balloon Boy Mess Seems . . . Um, Odd, Doesn't It?

Once the world learned yesterday that the 6-year-old Colorado boy, Falcon Heene, was NOT inside that homemade helium balloon which flew 50 miles away from his home and crashed into a field, that the kid was safe hiding in his attic, everyone breathed a sigh of relief . . . after all the cable networks went wall-to-wall with live coverage of the runaway balloon after which the U.S. military sent a Black Hawk helicopter and other aircraft, and for which the FAA grounded take-offs in the area. The child's older brother had told authorities that he thought his younger brother was on board the balloon.

Then we started learning other things about the family, which apparently spends spare time chasing storms and inventing things. Videos of them on the reality show Wife Swap surfaced, as did a "rap video" the three young Heene boys did.

Then it got even weirder.

They went on CNN last night and, when the boy was asked why he hid from his family, Falcon said, "We did this for a show." (The CNN clip is shown in the Today Show segment below.)

This morning, the Heene family did the circuit of morning talk shows. During NBC's Today Show, Falcon threw up. Did the family cut the interview short? Nope. The interview continued, thoug Meredith Vieira offered to take a break and return once the family had gathered itself together, much too late for my tastes. The Heene family also did another interview on ABC's Good Morning America even though their son was physically ill. Diane Sawyer had to suggest to the Heenes that perhaps one of them should go after the 6-year-old who ran away from the camera while puking. After his mother helped him in the bathroom -- vomiting clearly heard over the microphones -- the mom and Falcon RETURNED to sit in front of the camera. Here's the link to the Good Morning America interview.


The Heene family also released a video of the moment when the balloon took off yesterday.


Am I simply a jaded cynic to suggest that something just does not seem right here?

UPDATE: My Mommy Tracked column on this whole saga is now up on Mommy Tracked.

18 comments:

Anonymous said...

No, you are not a jaded cynic - those feelings are just an indication that you have a fully functioning bullsh!t detector, because clearly this was a complete fabrication by a demented, fame seeking family...

Anonymous said...

I agree, it was clearly a publicity stunt. I realized this as soon as I found out that it involved this particular family from the Wife Swap. I had seen the episode and this type of behavior is completely consistent with the dad's obvious narcissistic ant-social personality disorder! Oh, by the way, it's been reported that the dad called the media along with 911 when it happened. He needs to go to jail before he does REAL harm!

Anonymous said...

Definitely a publicity stunt, and the media fell for it. I guess it was a slow news day because any engineer would take 10 minutes and tell you that unless the boy was less than 25 lbs or so, that balloon would never take off. Movies like Up and cartoons make it seem like Helium has a lot of 'lifting power', but it really doesn't.

Anonymous said...

You are right on the money as this entire family craves the adrenaline rush as they a bunch of oddballs no doubt. If you look at the video launch when the balloon takes off, the mother has an almost grin on her face. This has hoax written all over it to me. The sad thing is the attention this father was probably seeking will be rewarded as I am sure the ignorance of television will allow him his own reality show. I hope they bill them and have Child Protective Services investigate the family as these children are put under great risk from the looniness of their parents' actions.

Phill said...

" 'I don't want to be a hypocrite. I'm not going to tell my kid you can't cuss, and yet they hear me do it. I'm not going to do that,' Richard Heene said."

He doesn't want to be a hypocrite, but being a bad example of adult behavior is OK?

I hope he is forced to pay back the $s spent on the follow and search operation.

What an idiot.

Anonymous said...

None of this adds up...and the story keeps changing. Yesterday the brother was reported to have seen him climb in and release the balloon. Today the brother "thought" he was in the balloon. The brother said he saw him climb under it and then climb in and release the balloon. Yet the father said that "obviously he got out" so, if he got out, what did he do? vanish into thin air? Magically teleport to a box in the attic? Someone had to have seen him...And the father claims that the kid went into the attic because he yelled at him. Hmmm....seems like dear old dad knew he was in the attic...

And another thing...so when the parents found out that their kid was (allegedly) in the balloon, their reaction was to go get a video camera? Thats not a normal reaction...

Anonymous said...

You're right on, this is so transparently a desperately fame-seeking family who were trying to pull off their biggest stunt yet. Too bad kids tell the truth. Then they coached the boy to throw up this morning. Absolutely pathetic and completely obvious. GET THE RESCUE MONEY BACK FROM THEM!!!

wyattbuchanan said...

CNN has a video where a sherrifs deputy said the boys cmae in the house and told the father the boy was in the ballon. Yet CNN also has a video of the father untying the ballon to set it aloft and the wife lets the tetther gp. So which one is it? You can't have it both ways! Of course its a hoax.

Anonymous said...

Its all a pitch for a reality tv show the family has been trying to get for the past couple months. They wont get a tv show and they're going to get stuck with a pretty hefty bill from the police dept.

Anonymous said...

I agree that it is very suspicious. It turns out that the father has a lot of debts. Apparently his "career" depends on being in the spot light, so that he has the motivation to do something like that. It haunts me that the kid said "it was the show" and the fact that he was vomiting -- could that mean that he felt uncomfortable lying on tv? Furthermore, isn't that a crime if discovered that it was a hoax? It is a crime to pull a fire alarm in a false alarm or call an ambulance under false pretenses -- this had to cost tons of money and used loads of resources. If found to be a fraud, he should be prosecuted, but I bet he gets rewarded by tv appearances etc. Don't forget the husband and wife met in acting school. It would not be beyond them to stage the whole thing, and this would certainly advance their careers?

Margaret said...

Seems really fishy to me that in the video the family released, the balloon takes off and the dad is seen kicking a chair? What? Then he calls the FAA FIRST, then the media, THEN 911?

So odd.

The parents are attention-seeking nutjobs. What normal parent would have a sick kid sit there, over and over, taking part in a number of interviews, while the kid is VOMITING?

Anonymous said...

Well, frankly, I say if you name your child "Falcon" then the child should be taken away from birth. Sorry, but you are too cuckoo.

Meredith said...

TMZ -- the Hollywood-based gossip web site -- is reporting that the Heenes have been shopping around a reality show based on a kooky family "all over" Hollywood, as one of the commenters reported. Here's the link: http://www.tmz.com/2009/10/16/heene-familly-balloon-boy-richard-heene-reality-show-tlc-tom-Reality-Real/

Anonymous said...

When my son was five years old, he walked away from me in a Sears department store (he wiggled his hand out of mine while I was talking to someone and when I looked for him 2 seconds later, he was gone). I was frantic, running through the store, screaming his name. It took 20 minutes for the security to find him hiding in the women's lingerie section. I almost had a nervous breakdown, longest 20 minutes of my life. Later he told me that he had heard me calling his name, but in his mind he was playing a game of hide and seek so he didn't answer. My point is that children that age think differently than adults do.

Nicole said...

I am just in disbelief about this whole thing. Yesterday, all I kept thinking was "his poor mother". Then I found out who they were. I also saw that episode of Wife Swap and found the whole situation so ironic! They were accused of not being safe enough! The other family's father had said that he feels his children are better off in a "cage" (as mayumi accused) than dead. But anyway...It is so consistent with this guy's attitude that he would do something like this. He's very extreme, loud, etc... If this was a hoax, they really need to feel bad about that. I don't think anyone really emphasized how much this stunt cost. They shut down the airport, police, firefighters, faa, media helicopters....jesus people(Heene's)....get over yourselves and get jobs!

WorkingMom said...

This should have happened in NH, where the officials would have said, "Glad he's safe, sir, here's the bill for the rescue efforts."

SOOOO FAKE it isn't funny! I think it's time this family's 15 minutes of fame ends. Dad's already obviously screwed up in the head, Mom almost behaves like a battered wife, and the kids are out of control. Maybe the footage from the two "Wife Swaps" and YouTube can be forwarded to Child Protective Services.

Sam Kaufman said...

The balloon boy story would not have gotten so much publicity if a few of those news reporters had bothered to watch that myth-busters episode about how many helium balloons it takes to lift one small child (thousands)

Margaret said...

Correction: the father didn't kick a chair after the balloon floated up. He kicked a wooden frame.

As of today they are facing possible misdemeanor charges?

Good.