Earlier this month National Geographic's "Taboo" television series featured a segment about Stanley Thornton,
a 30-year-old man who sleeps in a crib, wears XXL diapers and sucks juice from a bottle. Stanley is part of a subgroup of adults who practice a lifestyle often referred to as infantalism.
Thornton collects disability payments from the federal government and has come under fire by Republic Senator Tom Coburn of Oklahoma who thinks the adult baby should be able to hold down a job.
Coburn believes Thornton has demonstrated an ability to support himself through his work on an online adult baby support group, www.bedwettingabdl.com
, which he launched in 2000. Thornton also demonstrated carpentry skills on the National Geographic program on which he's shown building giant-size baby furniture.
Thornton manages an online adult baby support group, www.bedwettingabdl.com
, which he launched in 2000, and Coburn thinks that Thornton's work on the site shows that he has the ability to support himself. Thornton also demonstrated carpentry skills on the National Geographic program as he's shown building giant-size baby furniture.
Coburn is also suspicious of Thornton's roommate, Miss Dias, a former nurse who acts as Thornton's "mother," who is collecting Social Security benefits. Coburn points out that she's capable of caring for an adult baby.
Earlier this week Coburn asked the Social Security Administration to investigate Thornton's disability benefits.
In a letter to Inspector General Patrick O'Carroll, Coburn wrote, "Given that Mr. Thornton is able to determine what is appropriate attire and actions in public, drive himself to complete errands, design and custom make baby furniture to support a 350-pound adult and run an Internet support group, it is possible that he has been improperly collecting disability benefits for a period of time."
"The request comes at a time when members of Congress are struggling to cut budgets and weed out waste to try to bring down the staggering deficit, and comes just days after Social Security's trustees released a grim assessment of the program's long-term financial health," according to the Washington Times
In response to Coburn's attack, Thornton wrote a letter to the Washington Times
threatening to commit suicide if his social security benefits are cancelled:
You wanna test how damn serious I am about leaving this world, screw with my check that pays for this apartment and food. Try it. See how serious I am. I don't care. I have no problem killing myself. Take away the last thing keeping me here, and see what happens. Next time you see me on the news, it will be me in a body bag.
Thornton has also said that the National Geographic show overstated his woodworking skills.
Why is Thornton collecting disability? That's not entirely clear but in a biography
written on his bed-wetting site, Thornton says that he came from a violent family and was abused as a child. He has suffered from post-traumatic stress syndrome, which has led to some heart problems. "I found being AB [adult baby] has helped me deal with A LOT," Thornton writes on his site. "It helps me deal with being in diapers for the bed wetting, and dealing with the trauma in my childhood abuse, and of course helps with the PTSD and the heart damage. It's got me through many difficult times."