Mumbai businessman Raphael Samuel, 27, is suing his parents for giving birth to him, arguing that children weren’t asked to be brought into a world full of misery.
His premise is that if children didn’t ask to be born, why do they have to put up with lifelong suffering? In recent social media posts, he said this suffering includes facing wars, being stuck in traffic, working or simply doing something they don’t want.
Some of his social media posts have used the hashtag #ParentsAreHypocrites, and have included taglines such as, “your parents had you instead of a toy or a dog,” “someone had you for their pleasure,” and “you owe them [parents] nothing.”
“I want people to understand that they do not owe their parents anything and that if we are born without our consent than we should be maintained for the rest of our life,” he said in one of his videos posted on Tuesday, which has been viewed more than 114,000 times. “We should be paid to live by them [parents].”
A year ago, he created a Facebook page, Nihilanand, which show him sporting sunglasses and a fake black beard that he wears in the majority of his YouTube videos. His belief appears to be rooted in what’s called anti-natalism, which argues life is so full of misery that people should stop reproducing all together.
In that same YouTube video, Samuel argued that regardless of whether parents planned their children or not, their offspring were not asked. “Something that was not your decision, you cannot be responsible for,” he said.
People on social media appear to be overwhelmingly confused, with many wondering if the lawsuit was a prank. Baffled reactions have come from across the world.
Some tweeted, “Parents should counter sue for the $[money] it cost to raise him,” while others wrote that the “judge hopefully will throw it out or that judge is just as looney!”
Huffpost Canada senior editor Rebecca Zamon called Samuel a “troll” and she believes he’s just having some fun. But she also thinks there may be other motives as well.
“He’s asking people to take a look at their lives and there’s a whole part of his campaign that asks people to look at the plants, animals and the earth and to look at the resources that we use as more and more people are born,” she told CTV News Channel.
“If it makes a couple of people think about how they use the resources in their lives … I think he’ll think that’s a success,” she said.
But Samuel said detractors are free to criticize him because he doesn’t care. In the one of his videos, he said there’s been “a lot of positive reactions but many more negative reactions, which shows me I’m somewhat right.”
When his parents, who are reportedly both lawyers, were told about the lawsuit, he said his mother “took it very well” but that his father was still “warming up to the idea.”
He does mention that his mother told him that if she had met her son beforehand, she wouldn’t have had him. But in a statement to BBC News, his mother Kavita Karnad Samuel said she was proud of her son.
“I must admire my son’s temerity to want to take his parents to court knowing both of us are lawyers. And if Raphael could come up with a rational explanation as to how we could have sought his consent to be born, I will accept my fault,” she said.