In some people’s eyes, Jeremiah Heaton is probably father of the year because of the dedication and time he spent to make his daughter happy. In other people’s eyes, he’s just a modern-day Christopher Columbus who stumbled onto a piece of land and is now declaring himself the founder and owner of it.
Last summer, Heaton proclaimed himself the rightful owner of an 800-square-mile section of African desert between Egypt and Sudan by sticking a blue flag on it, just so his 7-year-old daughter, Emily, could become a princess.
Now, if that’s not some white privilege, I don’t know what is.
Of course, Heaton received tons of backlash, but it didn’t faze him one bit.
“I wanted to show my kids I will literally go to the ends of the earth to make their wishes and dreams come true,” Heaton said.
Well, now, not only does Heaton “own” this land, but Disney is also planning to make a movie about his story, inappropriately titled Princess of North Sudan.
According to the Hollywood Reporter, the movie will be a princess tale inspired by Heaton’s story of claiming a territory in Africa and proclaiming himself and his family its royal rulers. The studio says the movie will also focus on the relationship between the father and daughter, set against the backdrop of a fantastical adventure.
When asked about the movie and his story, Heaton snubbed his nose at those who call it colonialism. In an interview with Foreign Policy magazine, Heaton said that anyone who sees it that way is “living through the lens of racism.”
“Academics at universities saying this is modern-day colonialism, really that’s a euphemism for racism,” he told Foreign Policy. “I can’t help any more that I was born in America as a white man than an Asian person born in Asia can [help that].
“The definition of colonialism is the invasion of one country by another country for exploitation of resources and goods,” he said. “I don’t represent the USA, and that area was abandoned.”
Heaton already has plans for his new land, and with the Disney money and an Indiegogo fundraiser, he’ll probably become the richest king in the area. Heaton plans to use the land to create a sustainable food production environment, which was his daughter’s idea.
So basically, Heaton couldn’t go into his own backyard, plant a flag and just tell his daughter she’s now a princess? Either Heaton needs to teach his daughter she can’t have everything she wants, or someone needs to teach Heaton you shouldn’t stake claim to land as if you’re Christopher Columbus.