OJAI (CBSLA.com) — A video clip of an Ojai father’s show of support for his son who wanted an Ariel doll at the toy store has gone viral, and on Tuesday night he spoke to CBS2/KCAL9 in his first television interview.
Mikki Willis says his 4-year-old son Azai had received duplicate birthday gifts, so they went to their neighborhood toy store in Ojai to return one.READ MORE: Marvel Actor Gaspard Ulliel Dead At 37 Following Ski Accident
“He is standing before a rack of dolls, and he has one in his hand and he said, ‘This is what I want,’ ” Willis said, referring to an Ariel doll.
He explains that it was what happened after his son picked a doll that prompted him to make the video.
“We noticed two ladies noticing the doll and then kind of craning around to make sure it was a boy, and I thought their reaction would be positive, but they look at each other and kind of roll their eyes,” he said.
In the video posted to YouTube and other sites, Willis is heard saying: “How do you think a dad feels when his son wants to get this? Yeah! That’s how I feel.”READ MORE: Authorities Arrest Brittany Moore, Suspect Involved In String Of Retail Thefts
He continued: “Choose your expression. Choose what you’re into. Choose your sexuality. Choose whatever and you have my promise right now, both of you, as we sit in this car, this hot car in the parking lot, you have my promise forever to love you and accept you no matter what life you choose.”
Along with wife Nadia, the filmmaker and former motocross athlete has been making videos of his boys since they were born.
The clip has received more than 20 million collective views online.
“I thought it was very timely actually because of all the things that were going around about gender-specific toys,” said Nadia Salamanca Willis, his wife.
Ariel’s new home is on a shelf with superheroes, pirates and robots.MORE NEWS: Doctors, Nurses Report Alarming Rise In Pediatric COVID-19 Cases
“Letting him play with a female doll, a doll that would normally be classified by for a certain gender, is healthy,” Willis added.