Quaden Bayles, the 9-year-old boy with dwarfism, has sued newspaper columnist Miranda Devine for defamation after seemingly alleging the young boy faked his distress in a viral video.
Quaden gained worldwide support in February when his mother, Yarraka Bayles, posted a video of the young boy crying on her Facebook account. Quaden was seen distressed after being bullied in school. But some people, including Devine, questioned the authenticity of the video, citing a conspiracy theory that the family staged the incident to get donations.
In the now-deleted video, the 9-year-old made comments about taking his own life after being repeatedly bullied at school for his achondroplasia, a common form of dwarfism.
“This is the impact that bullying has on a 9-year-old kid that just wants to go to school, get an education, and have fun,” Bayles said in the video she posted.
Devine retweeted a post from @bibblebathgirl claiming the video was a scam, and Quaden was “fake sobbing” to get donations from people. Devine wrote “That’s really rotten if this was a scam. Hurts genuine bullying victims.”
According to the documents retrieved by The Guardian, the tweet was defamatory because it claimed Quaden “dishonestly acted out being distressed in a video to obtain money from donors” and that the boy “dishonestly pretended to be the victim of bullying, thereby hurting genuine victims of bullying.”
News Corp., who owns Daily Telegraph where Devine works and is part of the lawsuit, denied having to do with Devine’s tweet. In March, the company said the columnist’s account is “self-evidently a personal account and is published by Twitter.”
Both News Corp. and Devine have yet to comment on the matter.
The mother and son from Brisbane have been featured in several shows in Australia tackling dsicrimination in dealing with dwarfism.
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