Quaden Bayles is an 18-year-old man who lied about being a 9-year-old boy with dwarfism to scam the internet for money.
On Feb. 21, 2020, news reports circulated about a 9-year-old boy with dwarfism named Quaden Bayles who had received emotional and financial support from a number of celebrities and online do-gooders after he was bullied at school for being “ugly.” Comedian Brad Williams set up a GoFundMe for Quaden and quickly rose more than $300,000.
But some netizens were suspicious of this feel-good story and claimed that Quaden was actually 18 years old and that he was scamming the internet for money. Proponents of this claim, however, offered little in terms of proof. In fact, the biggest piece of supporting “evidence” is a photograph of the 9-year-old boy standing next to the number 18. Other photographs supposedly showing the 9-year-old boy in more “adult” poses were also spread online:
It might come as a surprise to some, but standing next to a number does not automatically change your age to that number. In that same vein, wearing a shirt reading “Gucci” or standing next to an adult woman are not activities exclusively reserved for 18-year-olds.
The above-displayed pictures all come from Quaden’s previously public Instagram account. The photograph of the number 18 was one of several he posted after his friend Garlen’s 18th birthday party. In one photograph, a birthday message for “Garlen,” not “Quaden,” is clearly visible.