The family of Tank Hafertepen, a popular gay Tumblr blogger who reportedly died following complications from silicone injections to his testicles, has sued his former partners in a wrongful death claim.
Tank died last October of a pulmonary embolism that reportedly stemmed from the injections. He was part of a polyamorous relationship that involved four other men who were all bulking up their bodies to become larger, hoping to emulate the physique of bodybuilders.
But as The Daily Beast reports, the group also had a fetish for larger genitals and eventually began injecting silicone into their private parts. While the practice is often referred to as "pumping," inserting silicone into one's penis or testicles — or even other parts of the body — can be a dangerous and even deadly endeavor without the consultation of a medical professional, given that it involves vital tissues and blood lines that flow throughout the body.
As a lawsuit filed by Tank's mother, Linda Chapman, alleges, the men continued the injections over time, and unfortunately, it resulted in Tank’s subsequent illness and death.
According to the suit, Chapman wasn’t notified of her son’s illness or hospitalization and didn’t know about his passing until a week after it happened. One of her son’s partners, Dylan Hafertepen (aka Noodles & Beef), reportedly said he had legal authority over Tank’s remains. Dylan, who operated as Tank's master, allegedly cremated him after he spent a week at the hospital in a coma.
Through their Tumblr, Tank and his partners chronicled their romantic and sexual lives. As the suit claims, the group's BDSM relationship involved a heavy degree of control and manipulation, and Tank allegedly injected silicone into his genitals as a show of loyalty to his “master.”
In healthy BDSM relationships, there exist mutually respected boundaries and consent, but this particular relationship reportedly showed evidence of manipulation, isolation, and dependency. Tank’s death was the subject of dismay amongst those who followed the group’s Tumblr page blog, but fans weren’t aware of his passing until well after it took place. Instead his partners posted pictures of Tank as though he were still living.
According to BuzzFeed News, followers further alleged that Tank’s “romantically dominant” boyfriend pressured him into changing his name and even the country where he resided for the sake of their relationship. When a fan inquired about when he’d stop injecting silicone into his genitals, Tank is said to have responded, “Master will decide when enough is enough.”
The lawsuit further claims Tank was coerced into leaving everything to Dylan in his will. But more than money or financial gain, his mother is looking for answers.
“We filed this suit to bring some closure and resolution,” said Joe Murphy, the family’s attorney, in comments to The Daily Beast. “One of the most important parts to her will be discovery. She wants to know what happened. “Why was she never called?”