TikToker Says Dad Abandoning Family for Breakdancing Dreams Is Her Funniest Childhood Trauma, Dad Claps (And Breakdances) Back

Comedian Madi Hart's viral story has people calling her father—a.k.a. B-Boy Benihana—a "deadbeat dad." He's not letting them have the last word.

A popular TikTok creator’s viral video about her estranged father becoming a breakdancer evolved into a war of words between them.

It all started last week when creator Madi Hart posed a simple question to her followers: “What’s a piece of trauma that you have that’s funny? It has to actually be funny.”

From there, Madi detailed the story about the time her father, Ben, “abandoned” her family when she was five years old and pursued breakdancing, becoming the oldest actively competing breakdancer in the world.

“[My dad] got really good, he like blew up. He became like a D-list celebrity status, viral breakdancer,” said Madi, adding that her father, a.k.a. B-Boy Benihana, gained tons of media attention and even danced with Paula Abdul

“There was no split custody or anything. He just left four kids to do that. He may not have paid for some of my medical bills growing up, but he did give me this breakdancing merchandise,” Madi said.

She also pointed to a text message she received from her father, wishing her a happy birthday but being unsure of the date, followed by a link to one of his breakdancing videos.

The TikTok went viral and has been seen over 5.7 million times on Madi’s account. 

Ben, who describes himself as a “Bitcoin explainer” and “freedom maximalist” on X (formerly known as Twitter), issued a 10-minute response to his daughter and online critics who referred to him as a deadbeat dad after he "[woke] up at 6 a.m. to find that my daughter has posted a TikTok video trashing me."

“In many ways, I love this video, and of course I love my daughter, Madi. We get along great, at least I think we do. But a few corrections are in order, or at least a few things that need to be put in context,” said Ben in the video.

I wake up at 6 a.m. to find that my daughter has posted a TikTok video trashing me.
She's a big social media influencer with millions of followers. Here it is . . . pic.twitter.com/dwPYUjD3AC

— Ben & Wanda Hart (@BenHart_Freedom) February 18, 2024
Twitter: @BenHart_Freedom

The Florida-based man says he understands how his daughter, then a 5-year-old, could feel like she was abandoned when he divorced her mother in 2005, but claims he still lived down the street from them in La Grange, Illinois. He denied the claims that he did not financially support Madi, citing $5 million in overall payments to cover child support, alimony, health insurance, out of pocket medical costs, and college funds.

“I saw the kids all the time. No abandonment, just a divorce,” he continued. “I did not abandon my family for breakdancing. I have a career, I’m in the advertisement business. I built an ad agency, that’s how I was able to afford to pay Madi’s mom $5 million.” 

Ben, now 66, explained that he took up breakdancing “entirely by accident” in 2012 as a way to get in shape when he was 54.

Once Ben’s response began to circulate online, a number of online sleuths attempted to uncover more details about the estranged father. Their findings tell a different story that Madi never touched on.

Who to believe?

Well, it turns out that the dad is also a right wing culture warrior, who writes blog posts about 'Actual US History' and complains about 'the wokes' on grifter right wing podcasts:https://t.co/TH5hUR2DfFhttps://t.co/67riGYx2eK

— Jeremiah Johnson 🌐 (@JeremiahDJohns) February 19, 2024
Twitter: @JeremiahDJohns

“Well, it turns out that the dad is also a right wing culture warrior, who writes blog posts about 'Actual US History' and complains about 'the wokes' on grifter right wing podcasts,” wrote one user.

I wanted to know how this guy got rich and I found an article from 1984 about how he wrote something so racist in a Dartmouth student newspaper that a guy came up and bit him https://t.co/xqjzde45cw pic.twitter.com/3MbWfThFdB

— Dave 🦕🇵🇸 (@catsmeatsman) February 20, 2024
Twitter: @catsmeatsman

Another X user shared, “I wanted to know how this guy got rich and I found an article from 1984 about how he wrote something so racist in a Dartmouth student newspaper that a guy came up and bit him.”

Madi eventually issued a response to her father, saying that a number of his claims are “objectively not true.”

“We’re all freaking out about this in my family group chat right now. We’re being like, ‘He’s so unhinged and delusional,’” said Madi via TikTok on Monday. “We don’t know if he actually believes his own narrative or if he’s lying on purpose, but he’s just like a weird guy.”

“He said he lived down the street from us, that’s not true. If he did it was only for a few months, maybe. But actually for most of my childhood, he lived in Florida with his new wife,” she added, saying that she doesn’t want to get into too many details over a video that was meant to be “poking fun” at her own childhood trauma.


Replying to @B. Much love tho! Hes still my dad even if we arent currently in contact. His response is delusional and shocking, given the actual reality that he left and never looked back❤️‍🩹 i just was posting the funny part of this traumatic event— im a comedian so i try and find the light in sad situations. Ive done so much therapy to grow from what he did to us— now just tryna laugh about it!! ❤️

♬ original sound - Madi Hart

Madi continued, “Obviously in real life it was a lot more complicated and traumatic and it was really hard. He left us, immediately married another woman, we didn’t hear from him for years. And he would visit every few months, and we’d go out to dinner, but like he truly had no hand in raising us at all. We don’t speak with any sort of regularity, he doesn’t know when my birthday is, like as you guys saw in the video I posted, he got it wrong.”

She continued, “He gave us some money growing up. I honestly don’t know the nitty gritty of the financial situation, I really, really don't. But I do know that several times I’ve asked him for financial help with medical expenses, especially in college, and he wouldn’t help me. ... I feel the need to kind of defend me and my family’s POV. Bottom line is this guy was a completely absent father. He’s like ‘I was just a bike ride away from those kids,’ and it’s like, not once did any of us either ever take a bike ride to his house. I don’t think I’ve ever been in his house, ever. This whole thing is so bizarre, I’m so surprised that he responded to my video because I’m just like, ‘Damn, I could have actually made you seem way worse than I made you seem.’ In my video, I just made you seem like such a whimsical funny guy. But in real life, it was actually a lot darker.”

Madi said the turn of events was "obviously kind of hurtful and weird," but manageable since they "don’t really have a relationship so at the end of the day." She went on, "It’s just kind of a bummer for my family, and we’re all kind of looking at this and looking at his response, and we’re just like, ‘This is crazy.’ If this is actually his narrative, it’s delusional.”

Ben fired off a number of tweets after his own response to Madi’s video took off to thank people who offered him support, including one of his personal heroes, Elon Musk, who called him "awesome."

Thank you Elon.
I'm a yuge fan of you.#Tesla and #Bitcoin are my two biggest investments.

— Ben & Wanda Hart (@BenHart_Freedom) February 19, 2024
Twitter: @BenHart_Freedom

Ben even offered some words of encouragement to another X user who said he’s experiencing a separation of his own.

“It's tough with girls, especially in the teen years. Guys at yuge [sic] disadvantage. Usually, the mom brainwashes the girls to hate the dad. Not as bad with boys,” wrote Ben on X. “My main advice: Be Patient. They come around eventually. But the teen years are brutal on divorced dads.”

In a separate tweet, Ben detailed his living situation from 2007 through 2015 as a response to Madi’s claims that lied about living down the street following his divorce.

Text summary: Ben Hart's life journey from 2007 to 2021, detailing residential moves, kids growing up, and traveling between Illinois and Florida

“Continued to see all kids who wanted to all the time,” Ben wrote. “Teen girls generally wanted to do their thing with their friends. Saw my son the most because he wanted to.”

On Tuesday night, Madi hit TikTok to say just "one more thing about the breakdancing dad saga," namely that her dad was way off base claiming she has "millions of followers." She has 73,000 followers on TikTok and 9,200 on Instagram.


Replying to @Madi Hart is it not knowing my actual job or is it MANIFESTING!! 🌟 #joke #storytime #breakdancing #candaceowens #fatherdaughter

♬ original sound - Madi Hart

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