*Trigger warning: suicide-related content*
In a heartbreaking video out of Brisbane, Australia, mother Yarraka Bayles filmed her nine-year-old son, Quaden, experiencing a suicidal breakdown after a bullying incident at school.
According to Yarraka, bullying is a constant presence in Quaden's life, largely due to other children making fun of his dwarfism. In this instance, Yarraka and her daughter witnessed one of Quaden's classmates "patting him on the head and making references to his height."
"You could tell he was very uncomfortable, but he was so good at trying to shrug things off. He doesn't want people to know how much it's affecting him; he's so strong and confident, but it's times like these when you just see him crumble. It was just heartbreaking to watch, it made me feel helpless," said Yarraka to NITV News.
The video quickly went viral, offering a candid look into the emotional effects that constant bullying can have on children, especially those with disabilities. And while Yarraka got some pushback for broadcasting such a personal experience for her child, the video caught the attention of celebrities from MMA fighters to pro-footballers to Hugh Jackman. Comedian Brad Williams, who also has dwarfism, even raised $200,000 to send Quaden to Disneyland.
But bullies don't just exist in elementary school anymore. They're all over the Internet, they're (presumably) older than nine years old, and they have no qualms about attacking children over harebrained conspiracy theories.
There's no better way to get this point across than to state it outright: A lot of people online are absolutely awful and very, very, very stupid.
In this particular instance, a whole slew of them have decided that Quaden Bayles, a 9-year-old bullied boy with dwarfism, is, in reality, an 18-year-old scam artist and wealthy influencer who staged a suicidal breakdown for monetary gain. Their evidence is as follows:
-They found Quaden's child acting profile.
-They found Quaden's Instagram, which he almost definitely runs with the help of his mom.
-Some of the pictures feature Quaden in coordinated outfits.
-There is a picture of Quaden at a birthday party in front of the number 18, which means that out of the five people in the picture, Quaden must be the one turning 18 (as opposed to, say, the bigger guy on the left).
That's it. That's their evidence. They keep talking about how Quaden changed all of these supposed references to his "real" age after the video went viral, but not a single one of them has provided any ounce of actual proof. It almost feels like giving them too much credit to even attempt to debunk their conspiracies, but it's worth pointing out that in another picture from that 18th birthday party, it very clearly says "Garlen's 18th Birthday."
Furthermore, it makes perfect sense that Quaden would have a social media presence and an acting profile––His mom, Yarraka, has been involved in a Dwarfism Awareness not-for-profit organization since 2014, and building up advocacy efforts around her son is a great way to draw awareness to the issues that affect him. Oh, and here's one of his media appearances from 2015, when he was five. You'll notice in the video that he is clearly a five-year-old child.
But hey, even facts can't stop the absolute scum of the Internet from coming after a nine-year-old, and oh man, they're coming at him hard.
These people are out here sh*tting on a bullied nine-year-old with dwarfism because they believed something some rando said on Instragram. So in this case, yeah, let's write humanity off as a failed experiment and call it a day.