Gender reveal parties continue to be a hot-button subject among expectant parents, and many feel pressure to up the ante on dangerous and eyebrow-raising set-ups in pursuit of making their mark. In 2017, an Arizona dad set an entire forest ablaze with his gender reveal antics. And this year, an Australian reveal caused a car to burst into blue flames. Now, a couple from Texas is making headlines for a gender reveal involving a hippo that avoided pyrotechnics but still managed to get Twitter all fired up.
Jonathan and Bridgette Joseph threw a gender reveal party for their second L.O. at the Capital of Texas Zoo in Cedar Creek and originally posted footage of the big moment to TikTok. The clip was then shared on Twitter by filmmaker Ana Breton alongside the comment "I did it. I found the worst gender reveal."
In the clip, the Josephs toss a watermelon into the mouth of a Nile hippo named Tank. As he chomps on it, blue Jell-O bursts from the watermelon, confirming that the couple is expecting a boy. “Yes! Yes! Thank God,” Jonathan says in response.
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I did it. I found the worst gender reveal. pic.twitter.com/37b5GkrTbN— Ana Bretón (@missbreton) September 21, 2019
Twitter exploded with negative reactions to giving the animal a hefty load of food coloring. “That person’s baby is not remotely important enough to feed a hippo 10 pounds of food coloring,” <a href="
That person's baby is not remotely important enough to feed a hippo 10 pounds of food coloring.— Levi Wilson (@leviisevil) September 21, 2019
">wrote one user.
Other people felt the expectant dad's seemingly sexist reaction was the cringeworthy part. "The joy on his face knowing it’s going to be a boy is simply the worst," another <a href="
The joy on his face knowing it’s going to be a boy is simply the worst. Along with making a hippo behind a gated fence eating a food coloring watermelon.— Danny Deraney (@DannyDeraney) September 21, 2019
">Twitter user commented.
Following the social media brouhaha, Bretón <a href="
">encouraged others to donate to a Pygmy Hippo Foundation and also <a href="
Hi all! I’ve been in touch with the family in the video. While I’m not a fan of gender reveals, it was not my intention to bring darkness to their special day. Here’s some background written by Bridgette. Donations to the ACTUAL hippo in the vid here: https://t.co/rByV2mbXRK pic.twitter.com/fDWY29niTE— Ana Bretón (@missbreton) September 22, 2019
">shared an update that she had been in touch with the expectant mom, who said "this was one of the happiest days of our lives."
Bridgette Joseph explained to Bretón, "After many years of raising our beautiful young lady, we decided to try for another baby. It took some time and extra money in fertility treatments, but we finally got pregnant! We would have been over the moon just the same to have another girl, but would have had to keep trying for a boy, and it could have gotten very expensive. I want to experience the mother-son relationship so badly also."
She also noted that she and her husband worked with the hippo's owner assisted with the feeding "only food that is safe for him to consume": "organic Jell-O" inside of a watermelon.
The zoo's director Michael Hicks weighed in, as well, telling the New York Post, "This is the same Jell-O people feed their kids. It's totally harmless."
He added, "You can't make a hippo do anything. He weighs 4,000 pounds. He enjoyed it as much as anybody else did."
While that should provide those concerned about the hippo a little comfort, and the Josephs' story definitely gives the clip a bit more context, stories like this prove that when it comes to learning your child's sex, it might be best to forgo the highly-orchestrated, shocking, and ultimately quite divisive gimmicks.