• Fri. Jun 21st, 2024

Gypsy Rose Blanchard fans applaud her prison release on social media


For years, Gypsy Rose Blanchard’s story — in which she served almost a decade of prison time after calling on her boyfriend to murder her mother — gripped the attention of true-crime fans and viewers of the documentaries, movies, television shows and other media that dramatized her case. Ahead of her release Thursday morning, Blanchard’s supporters drummed up a frenzy on social media with predictions and hopes of her next moves.

Many longtime fans, eager for the Jan. 9 drop of her book, “Released: Conversations on the Eve of Freedom,” and the Jan. 5 premiere of the docuseries “The Prison Confessions of Gypsy Rose Blanchard,” say they are curious to see what more the 32-year-old will do with her newfound freedom and fame.

Social media onlookers have complained that the discussion has gotten out of hand. One TikToker, who claimed in a video to be “waiting at the prison that Gypsy Rose is at” with a “Welcome Home Gypsy Rose” sign, garnered 22 million views. Another person taped up large pictures of Blanchard and added her face to mini cupcakes in a TikTok that gained 2 million views.

“As soon as she gets back and starts posting, I think it’s going to be huge,” said Julie Urquhart, a 48-year-old Canadian TikTok creator who makes videos about true crime.

Blanchard’s case is one of the most recognizable in true crime, Urquhart said. But what sets Blanchard apart from similar high-profile cases such as those of Madeleine McCann and JonBenét Ramsey, Urquhart added, is that she endured a case of Munchausen syndrome by proxy. Her mother, Clauddine, falsely claimed that Blanchard had several medical conditions, forced Blanchard to use a wheelchair and feeding tube, and lied to doctors to get her unnecessary medications, procedures and treatments, according to reports.

Blanchard’s experience — along with discussions of Clauddine’s murder and Blanchard’s subsequent punishment — piqued the interest of avid true crime watchers.

Kat Jackson, a 26-year-old aspiring social media influencer living in Auburn, Ala., said she has been keeping up with Blanchard since she was in middle school, when she was obsessed with true crime shows on TLC and Lifetime.

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Jackson gravitated to the genre because of the shocking events that can happen in the lives of “seemingly normal people,” she said.

“All of us grew up hearing about the story in the news,” Jackson said. “It just makes sense that it’s a big thing now because … we’re now finally seeing the end to kind of a chapter for her.”

While Jackson said she supports Blanchard, she thinks calls from some fans to make her a social media personality are taking things too far.

“I don’t think people really understand that she still needs to acclimate to life outside of prison and to actually find her own life, her own thing now,” Jackson said. “She still has to figure out where she is after all of this. So I think we just really need to give her a lot more grace.”

Other fans, such as Sara Huntington, a 30-year-old comedian based in Indianapolis, have argued that her actions suggest that she doesn’t want to be completely private.

Blanchard’s TikTok account, which her half sister reportedly created for her before her release, has amassed more than 550,000 followers and millions of views on each of its three videos, as her supporters await her social media debut.

Huntington expects Blanchard’s fans will tune in for “get ready with me” videos, grocery shopping hauls, and cooking clips.

“I am begging you to start making videos on here please,” Huntington said in a TikTok, now with more than 5 million views. “And don’t do weird stuff like Britney Spears and start doing dances and not telling us— tell us the details! Talk to the camera just like this, and you’ll be more popular than the North Sea.”

Seeing her thrive after her traumatic childhood and prison sentence is the kind of happy ending her supporters are rooting for her to have, Huntington said.

“She was a prisoner at home, then went straight into actual prison. And now for the first time ever, she’s just seeing freedom,” Huntington said. “We just want to see her succeed.


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