Hugh Jackman has shared a message of support to a nine-year-old boy who’s been bullied because of his dwarfism.
Earlier this week, Quaden Bayles mother, Yarraka, shared a video of her son in tides of tears after picking him up from class on Facebook in an attempt to boost awareness of the consequences of bullying.
In the video, which has subsequently been seen more than 17 million times, Quaden Bayles can be overheard saying that he was going to kill himself and that he wanted to die.
After seeing the moving footage, Hugh Jackman posted his own video to the schoolboy on his Twitter account in which he tells Quaden Bayles, who has a type of dwarfism called achondroplasia that he will always be his friend.
Hugh Jackman said, “Quaden, you are stronger than you know mate, and no matter what, you’ve got a friend in me.”
The Greatest Showman star also conveyed a message to the child’s tormentors, saying that life was difficult enough without people going out of their way to hurt others, and he said, “So, everyone let’s please be kind to each other, bullying is not okay.”
“Life is hard enough, so let’s remember, every person in front of us is facing some kind of battle, so let’s just be kind.”
Several other celebs have shared their views on the footage after it was shared on social media, including Mark Hamill, who played Luke Skywalker in Star Wars.
“The cruelty is as astonishing as it is heartbreaking,” Hamill wrote on Twitter.
The Walking Dead star Jeffrey Dean Morgan, who plays Negan in the TV series, also shared a message of support, writing: ”My man, I don’t know your name, I don’t know your mum’s name, but I saw your video.
“What I want you to know is that you have friends, me included. You haven’t met me yet, but we’ll see if we can change that for one.”
In the original footage, Bayles, who raises awareness about his condition in his home country of Australia, can be seen getting visibly upset after being picked on at school about his height.
During the clip, his mother says “this is what bullying does” before explaining that she has to “constantly keep an eye on him because of the suicide attempts”.
Bayles is a very special young man, and he can’t help the way he was born and other children are simply jealous because of how clever this young man is, but as we well know, children can be so heartless, and bullying is so wrong.
And when Quaden’s story first became known, thousands of racist adults in Australia waged a smear campaign against him and his mother.
There are indigenous Australians and there are many deeply racist people in Australia who can’t bear to see indigenous Australians get any kind of positive recognition.
The smears began growing globally when his story went viral. Quaden Bayles is indeed a child and has appeared on TV before, on the SBS channel in 2015 when he was only four years old.
There’s no way that his mother could have predicted that they’d get the attention they did, and they gave most of the donations they got to charity.
On the evening of February 19 2020, in Brisbane, Australia, Yarraka Bayles posted a video to Facebook showing her son, Quaden, in tears.
Quaden is nine years old and has achondroplasia dwarfism.
In the video, which shows him distressed in a vehicle, Yarraka says she’d just picked Quaden up from school and that she wanted others to see the consequences of bullying on her son, and Quaden could be overheard saying that he just wanted to die.
It went hugely viral, and the preponderance of the comments supported Quaden, but it wouldn’t be more than 72 hours before parts of the internet would wrap his life story into a grotesque conspiracy theory falsely claiming he was an 18-year-old scammer.
On the afternoon of February 20, comic Brad Williams tweeted out a link to a fundraiser for Quaden, saying that a GoFundMe had been set up to send brave Quaden and his mother to Disneyland, and Brad Williams wrote to his 123,000 followers, “Let’s show a bullied kid that he is loved!”
At the time of publication, the GoFundMe had raised £467,000 and had been shared 267,700 times.
Twitter user @ZoomerMatthew tweeted side by side photos, one of which showed Quaden crying, and the other, holding a handful of Australian banknotes.
The tweet, which has been retweeted more than 5,700 times was captioned “Y’all got played”. @ZoomerMatthew didn’t respond to questions from BuzzFeed News.
Also Facebook user D Monarch DeLeon posted a video of a two-month-old Facebook live video from Yarraka’s Facebook account of Quaden calling the Queen and Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison racist.
The video was captioned “This was captured from the so-called bullied dwarf kids moms Facebook before she hid everything. […] more to add to the mystery if everybody got scammed or not.”
Of course, any images on Facebook are not evidence of Quaden’s age, but photos from Yarraka’s Facebook account have documented Quaden’s childhood since he was six weeks old, and multiple interviews with Australian media organisations have also included his age.