Home West London ‘Why the f*** are you crawling on the floor?’: Uxbridge boy, 13,...

‘Why the f*** are you crawling on the floor?’: Uxbridge boy, 13, with cerebral palsy targeted with horrific abuse online after posting video playing football

1

A 13-year-old boy with cerebral palsy was left shocked and upset when a video he shared of himself playing football was targeted with vile hate comments.

Rhys Porter, from Uxbridge, is a full-time wheelchair user and avid football fan who has been playing in a West London disability football team since he was five.

Overcoming his struggles by playing on his knees, Rhys made an impressive save in goal during one of his team’s football matches , which the teen then decided to share on TikTok.

The morning after sharing the video to his eight followers, Rhys woke up to be surprised that he had gained lots of followers and the video had gone viral.

However, Rhys and his parents were shocked to discover that the video had become a target for vile trolls who sent a barrage of nasty, ableist, and cruel jokes and comments.

READ MORE:Football fan collapses and dies in front of family in pub while celebrating Harry Kane’s goal

Rhys is a big football fan and supporter of Fulham

Comments such as “vegetable van der Sar” and “chromosome Casillas” mocked the young boy’s disability, while others told him to just “stand up and not be lazy” and questioned why he was playing football at all.

“We can bully him all we want its not like he can stand up for himself,” said another cruel troll as the video was viewed over 500,000 times.

Rhys’ mother Kelly explained: “On Monday morning I started to notice that quite a lot of the comments were really bad.

“We’ve always told him that life and reality can be brutal, so we don’t hide him from the negativity, we’ve tried to bring him up so that you face it and rise above it.

Download the MyLondon app for the latest news and breaking updates

Get the latest London news straight on your phone without having to open your browser – and get all the latest breaking news as notifications on your screen.

The MyLondon app gives you all the stories you need to help you keep on top of what’s happening in the best city ever.

You can download it on Android here and Apple here.

“So we did brief him that there’s some nice comments that you’re receiving but there’s also some bad ones.

“He came home from school and was really upset about it but also I think quite shocked.”

Rhys, who is a big Fulham fan and season ticket holder, was left so upset that he wanted to quit football completely.

20210629 115942

Rhys had shared a video of a goal he saved to social media

His mother said: “He has a tough life as it is. He has more stress in life and when he sits reading those comments it just completely undoes all the work that we do just to try and say ‘you are normal, you should be included in society’.

“He just sees all of those negative comments as confirmation that he is what they say. He just becomes very withdrawn and analyses them.

“He does get really upset and then we have to pick up the pieces.”

Rhys was so upset that he didn’t want to return to football training on Saturday, but fortunately after much convincing from his parents he did.

Much of the football community rallied around the young teen, with big football team clubs, such as Arsenal, commenting messages of support to encourage more positivity.

20201206 174216

Rhys’ parents were shocked at the level of abuse their son received

Rhys’ TikTok account was temporarily banned, but after continued attempts from Kelly to get in contact with the company it was reinstated.

Kelly was confused as to why her son’s account was taken down, while many of those who sent horrible messages were seemingly free to continue.

She said: “Most of the people that sent hate comments all still had live accounts, including a child who had copied Rhys’ video and then made his own of himself rolling around the floor, doing an impression of a fit on the floor.”

For Kelly, not being able to protect her son from this type of hate has been incredibly difficult.

She said: “It made me feel furious as a mum that I couldn’t do anything to protect that, and if I was then I’d be doing the wrong things because I would have likely ended up in some kind of nasty negative communication.

20210623 170033

Rhys doesn’t let his disability hold him back from enjoying sport

“I wanted to answer everyone one of them comments.”

“He’s a typical teenage boy. He loves gaming, loves the PlayStation, loves his phone and social media – that’s his life,” she continued.

“I want better support on platforms like this because he’s not going to be the only kid that goes through this type of situation.

“He just wants to be able to share on social media and do these things without being judged.”

TikTok did eventually respond to Kelly’s concerns and said that when Rhys’ account was set up it seems to have been made as someone who is over 18.

They explained that accounts for teens aged below 16 are set to private-by-default, so that only followers they have approved can view their content.

Read More
Read More

https://www.mylondon.news/news/west-london-news/why-f-you-crawling-floor-21002460