ALLEN, Texas (CBSDFW.COM) — The story of a 9-year-old Australian boy with dwarfism seen sobbing on social media because of alleged bullying is now getting criticized and called into question.
Quaden Bayle’s mom posted the heartbreaking video of her inconsolable son saying he wanted to die because of the bullying he had endured.
But after garnering worldwide support, many are asking whether this was all scam for money and attention.
Celebrities and average folks alike rallied behind the boy who — along with his mother — claimed he is the victim of vicious bullying. A crowd sourced fundraiser even raised more than $370,000 to send him on a trip to Disneyland in California.
Now, the mother and son duo face online accusations from many saying he is an actor and this was all a hoax.
Amid the controversy, CBS 11 reporter Ken Molestina spoke with 22-year-old Allen resident Hunter Passmore, who also endured bullying because of his dwarfism growing up.
“I just hope it’s not true,” he said. “I really do feel for the guy.”
Passmore has become an advocate as a member of Little People of America and has been watching Bayle’s story unfold.
“I understand what the little dude is going through,” he said.
And while people debate the legitimacy of the claim, there is a real lesson to be learned about bullying that effects those living with dwarfism, Passmore said.
“There is just not enough awareness with schools and bullying system,” he said.
Passmore, who now works as an office manager at a Realty Offices, said the support of his family and friends helped him get through the tough times. He also offered a word of advice for anyone who had to endure what he did.
“Just keep your head up high,” he said. “Just because you are small doesn’t mean you are smaller than them.”