The “His name is Cayden” search phrase and hashtag went viral after an Atlanta man was fired for making racist and cruel comments about a little boy on Facebook. Gerod Roth, a Polaris Marketing Group employee, posted photos of himself with a co-worker’s son visible in the background on social media last week.
Gerod Roth, who went by the username Geris Hilton on Facebook, posted the photo of Sydney Shelton’s son, Cayden, 3, on September 16. After the image and disparaging caption was posted, Roth’s online pals added rude and racist comments beneath the image, People reports.
— People magazine (@people) October 6, 2015
“I didn’t know you were a slave owner,” one comment beneath Cayden’s picture said. Another comment on the Geris Hilton Facebook post read, “But Massuh, I dindu nuffin.” Gerod Roth added a comment claiming that Cayden was “feral.” While the post which got the Polaris Marketing Group (PMG) staffer fired has since been deleted, screengrabs of the photo and comment stream were shared online and have gone viral.
Not long after Gerod Roth was fired, the #HisNameIsCayden hashtag began trending on Twitter.
PMG President Michael Da Graca Pinto released a statement about the Cayden post by Roth on the company’s Facebook page. Pinto said he was “disgusted” when he was informed about the image and posted description by the employee.
“It breaks my heart that Sydney and her adorable son Cayden were subjected to such hateful, ignorant and despicable behavior,” Pinto said in the statement by the company. “Cayden visits my office almost every afternoon after daycare, he’s sat at my dinner table and I consider him a part of the PMG family. The atrocious lies, slander and racism he and his mother have been forced to endure are wholly intolerable.”
Sydney Shelton stated during an interview with the Atlanta Journal-Constitution that she is glad Gerod Roth was fired and is grateful for the support from the public that she has been given since the Cayden Facebook post went viral.
“I never thought that it would get this big,” Shelton said. “I never imagined something like this happening in a million years. At 25, I am just trying to work and support my son.”
Shelton posted multiple images of Cayden on her Facebook page and shared her thoughts about the comments made by her former co-worker and his friends.
“Cayden and I truly appreciate all of the love that we have been shown in the last 24 hours. You guys warm my heart, more than words could ever express. This little guy has every piece of my heart, he is my world and #HisNameIsCayden.”
Roth also worked at Your EDM under the name Geris Hilton, he was fired from that job as well.
“I just really feel upset, not only with myself, but also the character that was based off the comments that my friends had made,” Roth said during an interview with FOX 5 News. “Cayden has been victimized but I have been targeted.”
Roth also claimed that he asked one of his friends to stop making racist comments about Cayden. He emailed Sydney Shelton an apology, but the single mom said that the sentiments did not feel sincere.
“People post things in a [joking] manner and it gets taken a completely different way but I don’t believe any of these people were joking,” Shelton added.
What do you think about the Cayden Facebook post and the firing of Gerod Roth/Geris Hilton?
[Image via Twitter]