Vietnamese “YouTube” Activist Attacked and Harrassed by Online Community for Defending One of Its Own

“No Good Deed Goes Unpunished”

Mother Mushroom (born 1979 in Khánh Hòa, Vietnam) is the pen name of the Vietnamese blogger and dissident, Nguyễn Ngọc Như Quỳnh. Mushroom or Nấm in Vietnamese is the name of her daughter. She started blogging in 2006 after a visit to a hospital where she witnessed many poor, desperate patients waiting to be seen but ignored as they did not have enough money to bribe hospital officials.Quỳnh says her motive for blogging is very simple: “I don’t want my children to struggle and have to do what I’m doing right now.” 

Quỳnh has now taken her message to YouTube.  One of her largest followings comes from a group of people who have been following her fight with the Vietnamese government over a vietnamese temple and orphanage called “Tinh That Bong Lai”, which is now known as “Thien Am Ben Bo Vu Tru”. 

I will not go into the history or allegations of the Vietnamese government  regarding the temple as that would be a whole article in itself.  Suffice it to say that the gross injustice of the temple, it’s leaders and the children would make the hardest of individuals weep for them.  The elders have been imprisoned and the children have been left to the generosity of the community.

It is interesting because a small minority of Vietnamese people have been taking the side of the government.  We can only assume that these individuals are somehow related to government officials. 

This brings us to one of the children who grew up in the orphanage. His name is Lê Thanh Minh Tú.  Tú is a young man now.  Having grown up in the orphanage, he knows first hand just how hard this life is for a child.  Tú became a “YouTuber” to help raise awareness and money for the orphanage.  However, in early 2021, the “mob” came for Tú.  They accused Tú of stealing the money.  Tú’s name and reputation were severely defamed and maligned.  In a recent trip to Vietnam, I had the chance to sit with Tú.  I have never met a more sincere, thoughtful, humble, and gracious man in my life.  I did what Tú’s “accusers” never did, which was sit and actually talk to him.  

News of Tú’s situation made it back to Quỳnh.  I sat down with Quỳnh to talk to her about Tú.  

Quỳnh told me that because Tú’s situation (defamation, and libel) had come from Vietnamese users in the United States, and the fact the Quỳnh herself was living in the U.S., that she looked into the legal remedies available to Tú to restore his good name and reputation. Quỳnh informed me that she retained the law firm of Meade Neese & Barr. I did confirm with the law firm that they had indeed been retained to represent Tú for a civil lawsuit filed in Houston, Texas.  

Myself, never having been involved with a civil lawsuit, I asked  a source close to the case how much it costs to retain their firm.  He said that law firms can open a civil case of this nature  for about $50,000.00 but that cost will rise as the case proceeds forward, and that the entire case could exceed $250,000.00  from date of retainment to a final judgement.  

The attorney I spoke to could not give me exact details of the money that had been paid to date (because it’s an active case), but did say that enough had been provided to start the case.

However, it seems that the Vietnamese online community would much rather accuse Quỳnh of stealing the money than to do their own research about Tú’s case.  They should be ashamed of themselves.  However, this reporter feels that these people making these false allegations are probably working for the Vietnamese government.  Why else attack the good work and deeds of a beloved YouTuber like Quỳnh? The government has had Quỳnh in their cross hairs for a very long time, and would not stop at anything to discredit her, Tú, the temple, and the orphanage.

We at FIA commend the hard work that Quỳnh is doing for Tú. We certainly hope that justice will prevail for Tú, and that Quỳnh’s detractors will experience the “karma” that is due to them.

That being said, YouTube can be a very “toxic” environment.  People make accusations every day about others without one shred of proof or evidence.  These toxic users obviously have no life, and probably still live with their parents hiding out in their parents basement and living off the toxic mob mentality reassurances of their like minded friends.  

We should not be angry at these toxic fans, rather we should pity them.

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