[this is the english translation and adaptation of the article in french our site first published]
The media is the reign of emotion, and the Quaden Bayles affair is further proof of it. This 9-year-old child suffers from a rare disease that makes him dwarf for life. His mother just posted a video of him saying that he is going to kill himself because they make fun of him at school.
Many French and international media have talked about this viral video, very touching obviously, and the legitimate fight against harassment in general, and people with disabilities in particular.
Problem: none recalled that this child is clearly instrumentalized by his parents to earn money. Indeed he is an actor, put forward in the media since he was very small :
When he was only a few months old his mother put him forward :
He is 9 years old today, and when he was 5 years old articles in the Australian press were already devoted to the fact that he was bullied :
Five years ago an entire TV show was dedicated to him :
His mother is an Aboriginal rights activist and does not hesitate to stage with her son :
In short, Quaden is a star in his country, and long before the video of the past few days, he was the friend of many Australian celebrities (Russel Crowe and others) :
More disturbing, we see him playing with bills on a video, and a kitty that was launched to support him brought in almost $ 400,000 (to have him and his family travel to Disneyland supposedly) :
Kitty relayed on its official facebook page :
Whether his parents are getting the money or not, the global viral video has brought them and their son a celebrity which, as an actor, can only benefit him. Film and television stars from all over the world are in a hurry to give him visible support, and take advantage of the easy buzz.
But it should not be excluded that his suicidal reaction may also come from the fact of being a child star, well known (his Instagram account had more than 220,000 subscribers before it was abruptly shut down hours ago), who does not support any criticism. He would not be the first child star not to be able to handle these kinds of emotions, and to fall into depression or worse (like another dwarf, Gary Coleman, who played the character of Arnold in Diff’rent Strokes).
One can wonder if this ultra-media coverage serves the young Quaden. And as there is no evidence of his harassment (even if it is obviously more than likely, given the wickedness of human nature) the media should at least have mentioned the fact that he is a star-child, actor, instrumentalized by his mother to raise awareness of harassment … and to make money. It is not illegal, nor necessarily immoral, but the public has the right to know.
Besides, everyone can say they are a victim of harassment, but in this particular case it is Quaden’s handicap which makes it even more unbearable. A feeling that some people take advantage of. A child can play comedy if his parents ask him and he is good at it, so one has to be very careful with this kind of testimony and not take it for granted. Especially when there is money at stake. We are all too well aware of the media manipulations that have relied on good causes, such as the fight against cancer by Lance Armstrong.
The harassment Quaden apparently suffers from is perhaps the counterpart of the very privileged life that this young boy, which is no secret in Australia, enjoys. Children can be cruel to each other (handicap or not) and jealousy is a very powerful and unhealthy feeling in humans from an early age. But putting a child so much in the media is not necessarily good for him.
No doubt his mother is to blame for this, putting her own son in such a situation. It seems she loves the lights of the media for herself too :
We would have liked the media to tell us about all of this rather than pouring into sensationalism and clicks galore. Another story of money there too. None of them investigated in the school to find out if all of this was true, and to what extent. A mean remark from time to time is not the same as daily harassment, even if both are reprehensible. Testimonials from his school principal, teacher or classmates would have clarified all of this, and we may learn a little more in the days and weeks to come, when the media will actually do their job.
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