News

Miranda Devine apologises to Quaden Bayles for ‘hurtful and untrue’ tweets subject of defamation case

News Corp’s Miranda Devine has apologised to Quaden Bayles, a nine-year-old Indigenous boy with dwarfism, for tweets which suggested his claims of bullying could be a “scam” and led to a defamation case against both Devine and News Corp subsidiary, Nationwide News.

“In February this year I posted some comments on my personal Twitter account about Quaden Bayles and his mother Yarraka,” Devine tweeted. “I now those comments were hurtful and untrue. I sincerely apologise to the Bayles for those comments.”

Bayles’ story attracted global headlines early this year

Bayles’ story went viral earlier this year when his mother posted a video in which she said: “I’ve just picked my son up from school, witnessed a bullying episode, rang the principal, and I want people to know — parents, educators, teachers — this is the effect that bullying has.

“Every single freaking day, something happens. Another episode, another bullying, another taunt, another name-calling.”

The video had 25m views before it was deleted, and featured the boy saying, “I want to die right now.”

 

 

 

 

 

In response to the global attention the video received, Bayles was invited to lead the Indigenous All Stars rugby league team onto the field, and received support from celebrities including Cardi B and Hugh Jackman.

“In a heartwarming gesture, a victim of bullying that shocked Australia has led the Indigenous side on to the field in Saturday night’s All Stars game,” the Daily Telegraph wrote in its coverage.

However, online trolls claimed the boy was faking the story and lying about his age. Devine, who is currently on secondment in the US, writing for News Corp’s New York Post, retweeted a tweet which called the Bayles clip a “fake sobbing video”. She also added: “That’s really rotten if this was a scam. Hurts genuine bullying victims.”

At the end of July, Yarraka Bayles, Quaden’s mother, began the defamation case in the Federal Court on behalf of her son. Both the Bayles family and News Corp have filed a number of documents – including affidavits and submissions – with the court.

The first document from Devine, meanwhile, was one detailing her appointment of a lawyer at firm Holding Redlich, filed last Thursday.

At a court date in August, Devine had still not acknowledged she had received court documents served on her in April. News Corp’s lawyers said they were not authorised to accept service of the documents on Devine’s behalf.

The case was back in court on 2 and 10 September, but a settlement is anticipated before the case proceeds to trial.

News Corp declined to comment.

Contact the journalist:

Have more information on the article? Want to share an opinion? Just want to reach out? Email Brittney on brittney@mumbrella.com.au or get in touch via LinkedIn.

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