Balloon boy says “we did this for a show,” vomits live on TV; dad says he’s “appalled”

Jon and Kate Gosselin’s kids now have competition for our sympathy from Falcon Heene, aka balloon boy, whose parents appeared twice on Wife Swap and now have been dragging him on various TV shows, where he seemed to confess that it was a hoax and also repeatedly vomited.

The family appeared for a very uncomfortable interview on CNN’s Larry King Live last night. The kids practically had to be restrained to be on TV for the hour, squirming and running away during the breaks, but this morning, appearing on two live TV interviews even after his dad suggested that last night that they were done with the media, Falcon puked twice. The AP reports: “During an ABC interview, Falcon Heene said Friday: ‘Mom, I feel like I’m going to vomit.’ He then left the room with his mother and could be heard gagging. During a live interview on NBC shown simultaneously on Friday, Falcon threw up into a container when his father was answering the same question.”

That’s highly disturbing, and it followed an interesting exchange with CNN’s Wolf Blitzer, who was filling in for Larry King. He asked Falcon’s parents if he heard them calling for him, and Richard asked, “Falcon, did you hear us calling your name at any time?” Falcon said, “Uh-huh.” His dad asked, surprised, “You did? Well, why didn’t you come out?”

And then it came out: “You had said that we did this for a show,” Falcon said. Watch that here.

Now, what exactly that means is questionable. But it seemed to confirm theories that this was a publicity stunt of some kind. Adding to that was their appearance on Wife Swap, which Richard addressed during the interview, saying being on the show twice wasn’t their idea. He said, “They had contacted us asking us if we would want to be on ‘Wife Swap.’ And I never knew what ‘Wife Swap’ was, so I rejected the idea. Then I investigated it. They said it’s not what it sounded like. It’s a very respectable show. And I have respect for it now, because I knew nothing about it before.”

Anyway, the most interesting thing is Richard’s response to Falcon’s statement then, which was awkward at best. Later, he got hostile when Wolf Blitzer finally followed up on that, perhaps after Twitter exploded with people quoting that line and mocking Wolf for ignoring it. Richard stumbled around, avoided it, and then got mad, telling Wolf, “I’m really appalled.” Wolf quickly backed down, but just watch how uncomfortable it made Richard, never mind that less than 12 hours later, Falcon was on TV puking for some reason:

Interview With Heene Family [CNN]
Balloon boy gets sick twice during TV interviews [AP]

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about the writer

Andy Dehnart is a journalist who has covered reality television for more than 15 years and created reality blurred in 2000. A member of the Television Critics Association, his writing and criticism about television, culture, and media has appeared on NPR and in Playboy, Buzzfeed, and many other publications. Andy, 36, also directs the journalism program at Stetson University in Florida, where he teaches creative nonfiction and journalism. He has an M.F.A. in nonfiction writing and literature from Bennington College. More about reality blurred and Andy.