A theory that The Golden Girls were an 'organized crime syndicate' is hilariously plausible

If you don't follow Michael Harriot in some capacity, you're seriously missing out. Not only is the writer from The Root a critically acclaimed poet, journalist, novelist, and broadcaster, but he also has a smart, culturally sharp, and sometimes unexpected sense of humor.

Case in point: He's made a compelling case on Twitter that The Golden Girls—yes, the four old ladies from the 1980s TV show—were actually part of an organized crime syndicate. It's an admittedly wild and silly ride that has you laughing at first. But by the end of the thread, you're like, "Hahaha, whoa. He could totally be right."


Harriot wrote:

"This might be the most controversial thing I ever tweeted but it's time America faces the truth about a group of beloved historical figures, so here goes:

Blanche, Dorothy, Rose & Sophia—The Golden Girls—were actually members of an organized crime syndicate.

A thread:

Y'all probably think they were innocent widowers because that's what they WANT you to think. Nah, these women were gangsters.

The Golden Girls debuted in 1985, right at the beginning of the crack cocaine epidemic.

They moved there to "push that weight." The muscle of the organization was provided by Rose, (or as we called her, "Ruthless" Rose Nyland. Rose acted innocent & sweet but she wasn't as dumb as she pretended.

She claimed her husband died but anyone with 2 eyes can see she killed her husband for the insurance money. First of all, who moves from St. Olaf Minn. to Miami to save money?

No one, unless you have a plug for that Colombian nose candy.

So she moves down there and meets Blanche "The Butcher" Devereaux, whose family made their money in the sex trade and dope game. Wait...Y'all knew Blanche's daddy was a pimp, right? I mean, he wore a white pimp suit, hat and even talked like a pimp.

They said he owned a "plantation" outside of ATL where Blanche grew up but it sounds like they were selling & growing more than that.

Blanche's father "Big Daddy" comes in for a visit youtu.be

He had an unnatural relationship with Blanche that always bothered me & his name was literally "Big Daddy!"

Bruh, that's a pimp. But in the mid-80s Atlanta was getting blacker and blacker, so he sent Blanche down to Miami to move his "crops."

Where would Blanche meet people rich enough to spend that kind of $$? How could she move that kind of weight in & out of the country?

Do you remember Blanche's job? She was an ART DEALER.

That's the perfect cover. First of all, Ppl in Fla. ain't buying art like that unless it's velvet. Secondly, it's a known fact that 72% of art dealers belong to a cartel.

But they needed someone smart & tough enough to handle the day-to-day business."Dangerous" Dorothy Zoomak.

She was smart, tough, down on her luck, nothing to lose and built like an outside linebacker who sometimes played safety in the nickel defense.

Dorothy didn't take no shit. She taught in inner city NYC schools during the 70s so she spoke Spanish. Plus, her voice was so deep, the Columbian probably thought Luther Vandross or James Earl Jones was on the phone when she called them. Now, if course, you need respect, a distribution network and connections to let people know not to fuck with you.

Sophia "She'll Kill Ya" Petrillo.

Come on fam. Don't tell me y'all can't see this. First of all, she was Sicilian. And she talked mad shit. Plus, have y'all ever wondered why her nursing home burned down right when everyone moved in?

To keep the cops off their trail. It was a cover.

Don't forget, Golden Girls debuted 1 year after Miami Vice. So while Crockett & Tubbs we're locking people up, the Golden Girls were quietly running an international drug ring.

It's all right there if you open your 3rd eye.

Here's the final clue. Do you know how much money a person must have to assure ppl that if they threw a party and invited EVERYONE THEY KNEW, they'd STILL BE SURE that the biggest gift would be from the...

They even know what the card attached would say.

But, notice they never say what's inside the gift.

Cocaine, bruh.

Pure cocaine.

Thank you for being a friend."

Right?? But what's even better are the GIF and meme responses to the thread that back up everything Harriott just laid out.





We all need a little breather from the heaviness of the world from time to time. We can bake bread, we can look at kitten memes, or we can conjecture about the covert criminal activities of beloved 1980s sitcom characters.

Whatever gets you through the madness, man.

Courtesy of Amita Swadhin
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In 2016, Amita Swadhin, a child of two immigrant parents from India, founded Mirror Memoirs to help combat rape culture. The national storytelling and organizing project is dedicated to sharing the stories of LGBTQIA+ Black, indigenous people, and people of color who survived child sexual abuse.

"Whether or not you are a survivor, 100% of us are raised in rape culture. It's the water that we're swimming in. But just as fish don't know they are in water, because it's just the world around them that they've always been in, people (and especially those who aren't survivors) may need some help actually seeing it," they add.

"Mirror Memoirs attempts to be the dye that helps everyone understand the reality of rape culture."

Amita built the idea for Mirror Memoirs from a theater project called "Undesirable Elements: Secret Survivors" that featured their story and those of four other survivors in New York City, as well as a documentary film and educational toolkit based on the project.

"Secret Survivors had a cast that was gender, race, and age-diverse in many ways, but we had neglected to include transgender women," Amita explains. "Our goal was to help all people who want to co-create a world without child sexual abuse understand that the systems historically meant to help survivors find 'healing' and 'justice' — namely the child welfare system, policing, and prisons — are actually systems that facilitate the rape of children in oppressed communities," Amita continues. "We all have to explore tools of healing and accountability outside of these systems if we truly want to end all forms of sexual violence and rape culture."

Amita also wants Mirror Memoirs to be a place of healing for survivors that have historically been ignored or underserved by anti-violence organizations due to transphobia, homophobia, racism, xenophobia, and white supremacy.

Amita Swadhin

"Hearing survivors' stories is absolutely healing for other survivors, since child sexual abuse is a global pandemic that few people know how to talk about, let alone treat and prevent."

"Since sexual violence is an isolating event, girded by shame and stigma, understanding that you're not alone and connecting with other survivors is alchemy, transmuting isolation into intimacy and connection."

This is something that Amita knows and understands well as a survivor herself.

"My childhood included a lot of violence from my father, including rape and other forms of domestic violence," says Amita. "Mandated reporting was imposed on me when I was 13 and it was largely unhelpful since the prosecutors threatened to incarcerate my mother for 'being complicit' in the violence I experienced, even though she was also abused by my father for years."

What helped them during this time was having the support of others.

"I'm grateful to have had a loving younger sister and a few really close friends, some of whom were also surviving child sexual abuse, though we didn't know how to talk about it at the time," Amita says.

"I'm also a queer, non-binary femme person living with complex post-traumatic stress disorder, and those identities have shaped a lot of my life experiences," they continue. "I'm really lucky to have an incredible partner and network of friends and family who love me."

"These realizations put me on the path of my life's work to end this violence quite early in life," they said.

Amita wants Mirror Memoirs to help build awareness of just how pervasive rape culture is. "One in four girls and one in six boys will be raped or sexually assaulted by the age of 18," Amita explains, "and the rates are even higher for vulnerable populations, such as gender non-conforming, disabled, deaf, unhoused, and institutionalized children." By sharing their stories, they're hoping to create change.

"Listening to stories is also a powerful way to build empathy, due to the mirror neurons in people's brains. This is, in part, why the project is called Mirror Memoirs."

So far, Mirror Memoirs has created an audio archive of BIPOC LGBTQI+ child sexual abuse survivors sharing their stories of survival and resilience that includes stories from 60 survivors across 50 states. This year, they plan to record another 15 stories, specifically of transgender and nonbinary people who survived child sexual abuse in a sport-related setting, with their partner organization, Athlete Ally.

"This endeavor is in response to the more than 100 bills that have been proposed across at least 36 states in 2021 seeking to limit the rights of transgender and non-binary children to play sports and to receive gender-affirming medical care with the support of their parents and doctors," Amita says.

In 2017, Mirror Memoirs held its first gathering, which was attended by 31 people. Today, the organization is a fiscally sponsored, national nonprofit with two staff members, a board of 10 people, a leadership council of seven people, and 500 members nationally.

When the pandemic hit in 2020, they created a mutual aid fund for the LGBTQIA+ community of color and were able to raise a quarter-million dollars. They received 2,509 applications for assistance, and in the end, they decided to split the money evenly between each applicant.

While they're still using storytelling as the building block of their work, they're also engaging in policy and advocacy work, leadership development, and hosting monthly member meetings online.

For their work, Amita is one of Tory's Burch's Empowered Women. Their donation will go to Mirror Memoirs to help fund production costs for their new theater project, "Transmutation: A Ceremony," featuring four Black transgender, intersex, and non-binary women and femmes who live in California.

"I'm grateful to every single child sexual survivor who has ever disclosed their truth to me," Amita says. "I know another world is possible, and I know survivors will build it, together with all the people who love us."

To learn more about Tory Burch and Upworthy's Empowered Women program visit https://www.toryburch.com/empoweredwomen/. Nominate an inspiring woman in your community today!

Gage Skidmore/Wikimedia Commons

Wil Wheaton speaking to an audience at 2019 Wondercon.

In an era of debates over cancel culture and increased accountability for people with horrendous views and behaviors, the question of art vs. artist is a tricky one. When you find out an actor whose work you enjoy is blatantly racist and anti-semitic in real life, does that realization ruin every movie they've been a part of? What about an author who has expressed harmful opinions about a marginalized group? What about a smart, witty comedian who turns out to be a serial sexual assaulter? Where do you draw the line between a creator and their creation?

As someone with his feet in both worlds, actor Wil Wheaton weighed in on that question and offered a refreshingly reasonable perspective.

A reader who goes by @avinlander asked Wheaton on Tumblr:

"Question: I have more of an opinion question for you. When fans of things hear about misconduct happening on sets/behind-the-scenes are they allowed to still enjoy the thing? Or should it be boycotted completely? Example: I've been a major fan of Buffy the Vampire Slayer since I was a teenager and it was currently airing. I really nerded out on it and when I lost my Dad at age 16 'The Body' episode had me in such cathartic tears. Now we know about Joss Whedon. I haven't rewatched a single episode since his behavior came to light. As a fan, do I respectfully have to just box that away? Is it disrespectful of the actors that went through it to knowingly keep watching?"

And Wheaton offered this response, which he shared on Facebook:

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When a pet is admitted to a shelter it can be a traumatizing experience. Many are afraid of their new surroundings and are far from comfortable showing off their unique personalities. The problem is that's when many of them have their photos taken to appear in online searches.

Chewy, the pet retailer who has dedicated themselves to supporting shelters and rescues throughout the country, recognized the important work of a couple in Tampa, FL who have been taking professional photos of shelter pets to help get them adopted.

"If it's a photo of a scared animal, most people, subconsciously or even consciously, are going to skip over it," pet photographer Adam Goldberg says. "They can't visualize that dog in their home."

Adam realized the importance of quality shelter photos while working as a social media specialist for the Humane Society of Broward County in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.

"The photos were taken top-down so you couldn't see the size of the pet, and the flash would create these red eyes," he recalls. "Sometimes [volunteers] would shoot the photos through the chain-link fences."

That's why Adam and his wife, Mary, have spent much of their free time over the past five years photographing over 1,200 shelter animals to show off their unique personalities to potential adoptive families. The Goldbergs' wonderful work was recently profiled by Chewy in the video above entitled, "A Day in the Life of a Shelter Pet Photographer."