Supporters of a nine-year-old boy with dwarfism have rushed to debunk claims he is actually an 18-year-old man after the youngster’s heartbreaking response to being bullied went viral.
A fundraiser to send Quaden Bayles to Disneyland has reached $460,000 after his mother Yarraka shared a video of him in tears because of the abuse.
But in the wake of the post – which prompted an outpouring of support and encouraging messages from celebrities including actor Hugh Jackman – hurtful rumours have spread online claiming the Brisbane boy is already an adult.
Online trolls have accused nine-year-old Quaden Bayles of actually being an 18-year-old man. In this photo, they claimed he was drinking wine – but had subtly cropped out the Appletiser next to him on the table
One account retweeted false posts claiming Quaden was actually an 18-year-old man, and not a nine-year-old primary school student
Quaden (pictured far left) was actually attending the 18th birthday celebrations of a friend called Garlen
One post circulating on Twitter said his high-profile Instagram page and lucrative modelling career were proof he ‘scammed everybody’.
The accuser also pointed to a photo of Quaden at an 18th birthday party, saying the celebrations were for him.
Yarraka Bayles hit out at the claims as they gathered pace on social media, sharing a post from someone who said they knew Quaden from before his viral video.
‘He’s nine! Dwarfism is not a joke, is he a model or actor?’ the Facebook post read.
‘So are a lot of kids… That doesn’t mean s**t!’
Others have also jumped to Quaden’s defence over the birthday post, saying he was actually attending the 18th birthday celebrations of a friend.
Quaden was also seen playing with toys when he appeared on television as a four-year-old in 2015
Looking further back, Yarraka Bayles celebrated Quaden turning 16 days old in December 2010
A photo of Quaden posing with his pals in an Instagram post on January 18, which he captioned ‘happy 18th ma bah’ appears to support this claim.
Why Quaden IS a nine-year-old
1. He was at his friend’s 18th birthday – not his own – in January
2. His modelling profile, which may not have been updated, says he is eight-years-old
3. He appeared on TV toothless and playing with toys as a four-year-old
4. A photo of him purportedly drinking alcohol actually shows him drinking Appletiser
5. A baby photo from 2010 shows him at 16 days old
One Instagram photo of the nine-year-old had meanwhile been subtly cropped by his accusers showing him appearing to be drinking wine with his mother.
In fact, a bottle of Appletiser was sitting on a table next to him – proving his beverage was sparkling apple juice.
The young boy’s modelling success and strong Instagram following has also raised doubts about his age.
On Saturday, both his and his mother’s profiles on the platform were deleted.
His profile on Star Now says he is eight-years-old though, with beginner modelling experience.
Quaden has also appeared on television as a four-year-old, sitting on his mother’s lap playing with toys in an interview with Studio 10.
Looking further back, Yarraka Bayles shared a picture of her son’s sixth birthday cake in December 2016 and in 2010 celebrated Quaden turning 16 days old.
Quaden Bayles’ Instagram account ‘Quadosss’ warned his 226,000 followers that fake accounts were being created in a post on Saturday morning
On Saturday, Quaden’s Instagram account ‘Quadosss’ warned his 226,000 followers that fake social media accounts (left) claiming to be him and trying to take advantage of his situation were being created
The rumours about his age have been accompanied in recent days by trolls creating social media accounts in an attempt to profit from his bullying.
On Saturday, Quaden’s Instagram account ‘Quadosss’ warned his 226,000 followers fake social media accounts claiming to be him and trying to take advantage of his situation were being created.
‘WARNING!!!! FAKE ACCOUNTS! PLEASE REPORT ASAP!’ Quaden’s account posted to Instagram, along with a screenshot of a fake Twitter account using his name.
One of the fake accounts has pictures of Quaden and urges followers to ‘pay my GoFundMe’ and has a link to donate.
While trolls continue to spread rumours, Quaden (pictured) has received an outpouring of international support, including from Hugh Jackman and comedian Brad Williams
While trolls continue to spread rumours, Quaden has received an outpouring of international support, including from Hugh Jackman and comedian Brad Williams.
Williams, who also has dwarfism, created a fundraiser for Quaden after hearing the upsetting news that he was bullied at school.
Money raised will be used to bring Quaden and his mother for a holiday in Disneyland California, while all the excess will be given to anti-bullying charities.
Joel Thompson, the Indigenous All-Stars captain, leads the team onto the field with nine-year-old Quaden at CBUS stadium on The Gold Coast
Quaden’s mother Yarraka shared the distressing video which sparked the outpouring of support after picking her son up from school on Wednesday.
The schoolboy, who has achondroplasia – the most common type of dwarfism – told his mother: ‘Give me a rope, I want to kill myself.’
In the video, which has been viewed more than three million times, Quaden also said: ‘I just want to stab myself in the heart… I want someone to kill me.’
Quaden also scratched at his neck and said: ‘I want to die… I want to scratch myself.’
He has since led the Indigenous All-Stars out onto the field in their rugby league clash with the Maori All Stars in Queensland on Saturday.