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Banner and KC skyline at Boulevardia.
Boulevardia 2024: Kansas City's ultimate urban music fest rocks Crown Center
Catie Walker, Staff Writer • June 20, 2024

Kansas City partied last weekend on Grand Boulevard at Crown Center for Boulevardia 2024, KC’s largest urban street music festival. The...

Taking place from June 7-9, the event featured performers, businesses and other organizations.
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Catie Walker and Evelyn BergerJune 11, 2024

  Kansas City celebrated the LGBTQ+ community at the 47th annual PrideFest and parade this weekend at Theis Park.    “Pride gives the...

Courtesy of Rosanne Wickman
Remembering G. Fred Wickman: Journalist, Professor and Mentor
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On April 27, 2024, former Kansas City Star columnist, UMKC professor and U-News (now called Roo News) advisor G. Fred Wickman passed away after...

Kansas City has a chance to advance to the Summit League Championship for the first time since 2011.
Roos Softball Advances to Championship Semifinal
Zach Gunter, Sports Editor • May 10, 2024

  Kansas City has thrilled viewers in the first three games of the Summit League Softball Championship.   Entering as the third seed,...

A picture of the posters on the University Walkway.
UMKC Students Received University Pushback at Pro-Palestine Protest
Aurora Wilson and Maisy BlantonApril 29, 2024

  Over 150 students showed up to participate in a protest in solidarity with Palestine and other protests across the nation on Monday.   Around...

Opinion: TikTok’s Latest Influencer is a Murderer: Gypsy Rose Blanchard

From prison inmate to social media star, Blanchard’s following continues to grow.
Sydney Siemens
Blanchard plans to continue sharing her post-prison life in a new docuseries that will be released in December.

  After eight years in prison, the 32-year-old Gypsy Rose Blanchard was freed for orchestrating the murder of her mother, Clauddine “Dee Dee” Blanchard. 

  Now, she has almost 10 million followers on TikTok and over eight million on Instagram. The Springfield, Missouri, native has garnered significant media attention since she was released, posing for photos and chatting with paparazzi.

  Being both a murderer and a victim, Gypsy Rose Blanchard’s case is extremely interesting – but does she deserve to be a social media sensation for it? I don’t think so.  

  Blanchard exemplifies a real and devastating case of Munchausen syndrome by proxy. People with Munchausen syndrome by proxy impose severe illnesses on others.

  After years of being forced to lie about her health, Blanchard and her boyfriend at the time, Nicholas Godejohn, killed her mother, resulting in imprisonment for the pair.

  Now, is it surprising that Gypsy Rose is being idolized? Not really.

  Serial killers like Ted Bundy, Richard Ramirez and Jeffrey Dahmer (among others) are constantly romanticized on social media. Blanchard received hundreds of letters while she was in prison from fan mail, love letters and even marriage proposals.

  Even before she was released from prison, she was garnering social media fame. The situation started to turn into “stan” culture. 

  Fans started posting countdowns to her prison release and videos glorifying her, especially about her now husband. Blanchard’s comments under her TikTok videos read “WE LOVE YOU GYPSY ROSE,” “My favorite influencer,” and “QUEEN.” 

  Blanchard’s idolisation is sad, and the way people have been talking about her online is concerning. It feels strangely dystopian. It’s not that I don’t think she doesn’t deserve support, but it’s a really weird energy to have around this horrible situation. 

  For someone who was just thrown into the real world, after having her childhood and early adulthood tainted, she has a lot of pressure on her shoulders from strangers on the internet.

  It also brings into question Blanchard’s authenticity – specifically about the role that she played in the death of her mother, how much she knew about her false health claims and the resulting fraud from accepting undeserved charity.

  It’s strange to see someone occupy a position of influence on social media after years of speculation about the truth in their own life. 

  A video Blanchard posted on Jan. 17 explores “the point” of her social media presence. Her goal is to spread awareness about Munchausen Syndrome by proxy.

  Blanchard defines the illness and discusses symptoms to look out for. She asks her viewers to voice what they think needs to be changed in the healthcare system to protect children from medical abuse.

  A curated version of Blanchard’s life has been presented in the media for years. The story she is now sharing online shows a different level of presentation. 

  We experience Gypsy Rose Blanchard’s story through her own voice – and TikTok’s lens – for now, as the storytelling is finally in her hands.

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