I’ll be honest. Years of existing on the internet, with hoax after hoax pulling on people’s heartstrings and then being shown to be a grifting operation, my heart has hardened. I didn’t believe this story from the moment I saw it.
Because it’s too good. It’s too on the nose. Aboriginal dwarf getting bullied hits waaaay too many checkboxes for me to not put on my skeptics goggles.
As my friend Michael Brown points out:
This sort of grift is easy – you use people’s natural reactions of anger and sympathy to gain attention for yourself, along with gifts like a $200,000 trip to Disneyland to “heal the hurt.”
Here’s what nobody is talking about:
This is child abuse.
Just like Greta and Desmond, putting a minor in the public spotlight, especially in the internet age, and especially a minor with special needs, is abusive. Quaden may or may not have had people say mean things to him, but exposing him to the entire internet will expose him to several orders of magnitude more abuse, just because of the nature of the beast.
It’s one thing to, as an adult, step into the social media spotlight and deal with the hostility, but a child has no such choice. Quaden is eight years old, there is no way he can choose to expose himself to something like that. It’s the same reason we don’t let children skydive.
The mother, however, is benefiting and is doing this knowing full well the psychological damage it will due to her child. It’s public humiliation for her benefit. It’s child abuse.