Gerod Roth somehow thought it was a good idea to post a picture on his Facebook page of his coworker’s young son. Unfortunately for him, his friends thought the post was their outlet for a number of racial slurs and comments they wrote on the page.
When an Detroit woman, Ife Johari, caught wind of the post, she tried to locate the child’s parents via social media and finally did. Sydney Shelton, Roth’s coworker, was unaware that a photo had been taken and posted and was appalled when she saw comments that included one from Roth that called her son ‘feral’ and others from his friends that included a post asking when Roth had become a ‘slaveowner.’
“I just really feel upset, not only with myself, but also the character that was based off the comments that my friends had made. Cayden has been victimized but I have been targeted,” Roth said.
The post has since been deleted from Facebook.
Roth claims he didn’t think she would mind.“People post things in a jokingly manner and it gets taken a completely different way but I don’t believe any of these people were joking,” Shelton said.
Shelton also told FOX 5 News she’s thankful for the #HisNameIsCayden movement that is gaining attention online. She said people from all over the world are reaching out and showing support. Her employer, Polaris Marketing Group, is also accepting gifts for the boy whose birthday is later this month.
“He is not a deaf child. He is not mute. He has never been abandoned. He is a well-loved, fun-loving, hyper-active and typical three-year-old,” Shelton said in response to comments made on the post.
“A person said, ‘Oh, you mean to tell me that you just have wild kids running through your office building?’ And that’s when I said ‘he was feral.’ That was interpreted as racist and that, honestly, was not my intention whatsoever.”
Roth also insists he told one of his Facebook friends to stop making racist remarks. But that comment was cropped out of the screen shot, he said.
Roth emailed Shelton an apology.
Shelton told FOX 5 she hasn’t found the words to respond at this time.