UK: Social Media User Warned By Police After Expressing Concerns About Man Who Dresses Like A Baby, Speaks To Children In Schools

A social media user critical of gender ideology was contacted by police after writing a thread expressing concerns about an “adult baby” who had been speaking in schools to children.

On August 15, Gender is Harmful posted a multi-part thread on X (formerly Twitter) providing details about a man named Richard Smith, the head of an autism-awareness training group known as Awesometistic.

In the thread, the user noted that Smith had a concerning history of dressing like a baby girl as well as utilizing diapers, bottles, teddy bears, and other child-related accessories. While Smith claims he was “cruelly neglected as a baby” and uses these items as a method to “aid” his self-discovery, the behavior is more commonly associated with a fetish subculture known as the “adult baby-diaper lifestyle.”

While social media history reveals that Smith dressed normally around the launch of his group, he began adopting child-like colors and dress in 2021, which appears to have continuously escalated over the years as he adopted more infant-associated wear and habits.

In the August 15 thread, Gender is Harmful noted that Smith had adopted two vulnerable children, and had been invited into local schools to speak to students with autism. Smith has stated that when he goes into the schools, he uses his teddy bears and other “aids” in order “show children a confident person with autism.”

In 2019, Smith was gifted a yellow Ford Mustang by a local supercar shop in order to promote his charity. Smith claimed the car would be a way to engage with children by “giving it the look of Bumblebee from Transformers, which the kids love.”

In 2023, Smith announced he was set to drive a new supercar, though never explicitly specified if the car was fully sponsored or in-part paid for with Awesometistic charity funds.

The Lotus Emira, valued at approximately $100,000 USD, was wrapped in pink and blue with Awesometistic branding. Since acquiring the vehicle, Smith has done events in local shopping centers, showing off the car and providing information to children on autism awareness.

Smith’s advocacy has gained substantial notoriety, and he was recognized by the Duchess of Cornwall in 2022 with a coveted Platinum Champion award as part of the late Queen Elizabeth’s jubilee celebrations.

But while the short thread posted by Gender is Harmful provided only general information already in the public domain, the user was quickly contacted by Northumbria police. Curiously, the force is one Smith has worked with in the past, providing training on “how to better support people with autism who come into police custody.”

Speaking to Reduxx, Gender is Harmful, who wished to stay anonymous for his safety, provided copies of the multiple emails he was sent by police constable Will Sutton.

In the first, Sutton asks to speak to whoever is responsible for the Gender is Harmful X account, to which the user declined. Sutton then wrote once again shortly after, this time clarifying his reasons for communications and stating a “grown up conversation” was required. In an email littered with grammatical errors, Sutton wrote:

“I’m wanting to speak to them regarding a post that has caused a lot of negative comments and abuse which at this stage I may be able to deal with via a grown up conversation with those involved although if it continues it might lead to criminal matters around harassment or malicious communications so if you could let me know who it is that would be useful. If needs be I’ll have to go through relevant channels,” Sutton wrote. “I look forward to your decent, helpful and law abiding response.”

A few minutes later, Sutton wrote once more.

“The post in question related to a Richard Smith and Awesometistic. Could the post be taken down please as I mentioned it may lead to further action.”

Gender is Harmful said he was “surprised” to see police had contacted him over his thread on Smith.

“As I looked back over my short thread, I couldn’t see what I had done which would have warranted such an action. I hadn’t tagged Mr. Smith or his company, Awesometistic and I simply outlined, with the aid of posts made by himself, what it was that he was doing,” Gender is Harmful explained. “I’ve never been contacted by the police before over my social media posts, so it was a little unnerving.”

Following the initial communication, Gender is Harmful reached to Fair Cop, an organization comprised of individuals concerned about police attempts to criminalize people for expressing opinions that don’t actually contravene any laws.

Fair Cop drafted a letter which was sent to Northumberland Police in support of Gender is Harmful, questioning why officers appeared to be threatening the user with criminal action and encouraging them to review the relevant human rights laws.

While Gender is Harmful says he is unsure of what the outcome in the situation will be, he believes the situation is “hugely chilling” and represents a wider issue with police in the United Kingdom monitoring opinions rather than tackling crime.

“When women in the UK are being murdered two to three times each week and domestic violence against women is a serious issue, it feels like an extraordinary waste of police time for them to be acting on behalf of someone who has been criticized by concerned parents of autistic children,” he says, noting that Smith had been subject to parental complaint in the past, to which he threatened police action.

Gender is Harmful provided copies of a 2020 Facebook post made by Smith in which he announced he had contacted the police after a group calling themselves Parents of Autistic and Associated Disordered Children in the North East expressed concerns that he was not the best representative for the diagnosis.

In a letter, the parents noted that Smith was not professionally qualified to be “teaching, training, or advising” anyone on autism, and called into question his own history with the diagnosis.

“Ritchie is upscaling his autism and fabricating a lie to everyone,” the letter claimed. “He is watching children on the spectrum and mimicking their behaviors to make out he also displays these traits. It’s complete nonsense.”

After the letter began to circulate, Smith published a Facebook post calling the parents “horrible, jealous people,” and stating “police have been called.”

Gender is Harmful echoed some of the concerns expressed by the parents.

“Having worked with autistic learners and alongside autistic colleagues over many years, I was alarmed to see the messages Smith appears to be spreading to schools and staff,” he said. “While I can’t question Smith’s autism itself, there are a number of things he does which raise more questions and concerns. He claims to be incontinent, but goes further and talks about playing with his own feces and instead of saying he wears pads, which is the more commonly accepted term for older children/adults, he uses the term ‘nappies.’ He also says he needs to have chew toys, but again, has taken it further and sucks a dummy. He also wears bibs and dresses like a baby girl.”

Gender is Harmful goes further and says that some parents of autistic children have expressed to him that they find the prospect of Smith interacting with their kids “scary” because he promotes behaviors that are largely unrepresentative of the average person with autism.

“My experience of working with young autistic people, some of whom might be hopeful of going on to further study or gain employment, would not fare well if they were to play with their own feces or say, dress like an adult baby.”

Gender is Harmful also notes the concerning safeguarding element, asserting that those in a position of contact with children should open to criticism.

“Safer recruitment is about being open to criticising poor practise and addressing any concerns professionally … And while [Smith] uses a ‘superstar’ persona, he clearly gets very angry when criticized.”

Gender is Harmful concluded: “The more access someone has to children, as this man has plenty, the tighter the safeguards need to be and in this particular situation, it seems that the safeguarding measures have been neglected, very badly. If Smith feels he can get the police, who he has clearly worked with, to threaten parents who ask questions about the way he works and what safeguards are in place, then that effectively gives him unfettered access to schools and children.”

Reduxx reached out to the Northumbria Constabulary but did not receive a response in time for publication.

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Anna Slatz

Anna is the Co-Founder and Editor-in-Chief at Reduxx, with a journalistic focus on covering crime, child predators, and women's rights. She lives in Canada, enjoys Opera, and kvetches in her spare time.

Anna Slatz
Anna Slatz
Anna is the Co-Founder and Editor-in-Chief at Reduxx, with a journalistic focus on covering crime, child predators, and women's rights. She lives in Canada, enjoys Opera, and kvetches in her spare time.