Hugh Jackman, Jeffrey Dean Morgan and More Stars Send Encouraging Messages to Bullied 9-Year-Old Boy
By Paige Gawley
Lisa Lake/Getty Images for Philly Fights Cancer / Albert L. Ortega/Getty Images
An Australian boy is getting some celebrity support. Earlier this week, a video of 9-year-old Quaden Bayles saying he wanted to kill himself went viral after his mom, Yarraka Bayles, posted it on Facebook. The heartbreaking clip was a result of bullying Bayles has faced at school for his dwarfism.
In response, comedian Brad Williams, who also has dwarfism, created a GoFundMe for Quaden, with the goal of sending him to Disneyland. The fundraiser has since raised more than a quarter of a million dollars.
On the celebrity side, Hugh Jackman was quick to speak out in support of Quaden, taking to Twitter to tell the boy that he is "stronger than you know."
"No matter what, you've got a friend in me," the actor said in his video message. "So everyone, let's please be kind to each other. Bullying is not OK. Period. Life is hard enough. So let's just remember, every person in front of us is facing some kind of battle. So let's just be kind."
Jeffrey Dean Morgan also posted a video for Quaden, in which the actor encouraged Yarraka to DM him so that they could meet face-to-face.
"What I want you to know is you have friends, me included. I am your buddy. You haven't met me yet, but we'll see if we can change that," he said. "...You have a bunch of friends out here, out in the world that you haven't met yet. But we're here and we've got your back. And you need to know that. It'll get better."
"As a dad of a 9-year-old, kids can be horrible and that's because their parents aren't doing their job," he continued. "It's gonna be better. It's gonna get better... I promise it will. You hang in there, alright? DM me."
Jeffrey's kind offer to meet wasn't the only one Quaden received. In fact, Chatri Sityodtong, a martial arts champion, invited Quaden and his family on an all-expense paid trip to Singapore, in order to become "bully-proof" at his gym, EVOLVE. Sityodtong later shared that Yarraka has accepted his offer.
"God gives the toughest battles to his bravest and strongest soldiers," he said in a video. "And for sure you are one of them."
I just wanted to share an update on Quaden Bayles. I just spoke to his amazing mom, Yarraka, over the phone. She has graciously accepted my invitation to come to Singapore for an all-expenses-paid vacation so Quaden can learn martial arts at EVOLVE. https://t.co/Eoyzai2hUC
Gabi Butler, the breakout star of Netflix's reality show Cheer, also had an offer for Quaden, inviting him to come visit the squad in Corsicana, Texas.
"This is NOT OK. Quaden you sweet boy, you are loved & you are special! You have a gift to give to the world & God has great plans for you!" she tweeted. "We would love to have you come visit us here at Navarro so we can do some stunts for you! We love you Quaden!"
Actress Patricia Heaton tweeted that everyone should "give some love and encouragement" to Quaden. "There are thousands of people who want to tell you how wonderful and important you are!" she wrote.
Can we all give some love and encouragement to Quadra and his family? See below: he needs our help! Quaden, I hope you see this! There are thousands of people who want to tell you how wonderful and important you are! https://t.co/4coVKb8xyO
Grey's Anatomy actor Kevin McKidd also offered kind words for Quaden, confessing that he "went through bullying also."
"You are amazing. Amazing and so important in this world. You will get through this and shine and do deeply important things," he wrote. "And FYI your ALREADY doing such SUCH important work - you and your beautiful family - all my love and respect to you and to them."
And FYI your ALREADY doing such SUCH important work - you and your beautiful family - all my love and respect to you and to them
Josh Gad also opened up about his own experience with bullying in a series of tweets to Quaden.
"There is perhaps nothing more heartbreaking and debilitating than seeing a child take this kind of bullying to heart," he wrote. "As someone who was bullied as a child and to this day gets bullied by trolls online, I can safely say with confidence that you are so much more special, beautiful and kind than they can ever hope to be."
And kind than they can ever hope to be. Bullies are nobodies. They bully because they’re insecure, have low self-esteem and are looking for attention for all the wrong reasons. If a child bullies, then be a better parent and have a zero-tolerance policy at home. #stopbullying
"Bullies are nobodies. They bully because they’re insecure, have low self-esteem and are looking for attention for all the wrong reasons," he added. "If a child bullies, then be a better parent and have a zero-tolerance policy at home."