Father describes online abuse of daughter after Toy Show
Lara Reddy (6) was the subject of ‘racist and cruel’ comments after she sang on the RTÉ show
Mark Reddy with his six-year-old daughter Lara. Photograph: Facebook
The father of six-year-old Lara Reddy, who made a three-minute appearance on the Late Late Toy Show, has described the “racist and cruel” online abuse of his daughter as “heartbreaking”and “scary”.
Mark Reddy from Swords in Dublin said his daughter had a “magical and fantastic” experience during the annual show last Friday.
“She loves to sing and dance. We wanted it to be a lifetime experience for her and it was,” he said.
During her appearance on the show, watched by an average of 1.36 million viewers, she sang: “My Little Pony, skinny and bony, went to the stable, to die on the table”.
Mr Reddy said when the family arrived home they received a huge amount of supportive messages but abusive messages also appeared online.
“What can only described as trolls who used the opportunity to be very racist with paedophile undertones [and] very abusive over a three minute sketch of a six-year-old having a great time,” he said.
The words of the song also prompted a number of online messages accusing Lara and her parents of encouraging animal cruelty.
Mr Reddy said the family loved animals and never considered a connection between the song about a cartoon and animal cruelty.
Mr Reddy was speaking on RTÉ radio with Ryan Tubridy on Wednesday.
Tubridy told Mr Reddy he was disgusted and unhappy a “vile and nasty” small group of people would abuse a little girl.
“You don’t mock or slag a child, ever,” he said.
Lara’s father said he was “appalled and upset” reading the abusive messages and wanted to speak out.
“Sometimes you have to challenge these things, it’s not fair and it’s not right,” he said.
“It’s very scary people felt they have the right to abuse a child.”
Mr Reddy said he and his wife Jean adopted Lara when she was a six-month-old baby from Vietnam and she was grown to be a “strong-minded, intelligent and fun little girl”.
“[It was] a wonderful experience and we are the proudest parents on the planet,” he said.
“Our job is to ensure she’s protected as best we can. I’d have no fears that she’s able to handle anything like this.”
Mr Reddy said the family would now focus on the good memories of Lara’s appearance on the show.
“I hope people will be less judgemental. That it is not appropriate to go on and talk about a child,” he said.