The age of Australian boy Quaden Bayles came under question as some on Twitter claimed that the bullied child who gained worldwide support is really a teenager, but the accusation appeared to quickly fall apart.
Bayles gained worldwide attention after appearing in a viral video showing him despondent over bullying at school. The boy, identified as being a 9-year-old who suffers from a form of dwarfism known as achondroplasia, said in the video that he could no longer take the bullying over his looks.
“I wish I could stab myself in my heart. I want someone to kill me,” the boy said as he sobbed.
But as Bayles attracted support from around the world, some began to question whether he was really as young as his family said. As the New York Post reported, a Twitter user claimed that Quaden had an Instagram page that showed him as an 18-year-old and alleged that he was scamming people. The account that originally posted the accusation appeared to be taken down, but many people re-tweeted a screenshot of the post and the images.
— shanrrr (@shanohni) February 21, 2020
The accusations appeared to fall apart quickly, however. Many users found that there was evidence he was a child as his family had claimed, including a clip from a television interview with his parents in 2015, when Quaden was identified as a 4-year-old.
As WBAL-TV noted, the footage seemed to make it clear that Quaden could not be as old as the viral Twitter post was claiming.
“He’s being pushed in a shopping cart yelling at gawkers to stop looking at him, in a distinctive toddler voice. If, as some are claiming on social media that he’s 18 years old today, he would have been about 13 years old in the video.”
But the accusation claiming Quaden was lying about his age still managed to gain traction on social media, leading to pushback from some of the boy’s defenders. Many called it more cyberbullying and criticized those who fell for the accusation.
“This is why we can’t have nice things. People are evil and social media exposed them all,” one person tweeted in response to the interview showing Quaden to be a young child. “Poor kid is getting called all kinds of names because some lowlife started this nonsense how he is 18.”
Amid the apparently baseless accusations, Quaden and his family continue to get support from across the world, with many leaving supportive messages. Others who are affected by the same or similar conditions have been sharing their stories as well.