By Brody Levesque | RALEIGH -- An 11-year-old school boy tried to commit suicide after he was bullied at school for being a fan of the TV cartoon "My Little Pony" and remains hospitalized with possible brain damage.
Michael Morones’ parents found him hanging off the top rail of his bunk bed 11 days ago after a group of his peers at his elementary school taunted and bullied the boy about his fandom.
His stepfather, Shannon Suttle, told Chicago based writer Carrie Goldman, “Michael was upset because the kids were calling him gay for liking a girls’ TV show. His mom and I, well, we told him that it didn’t matter what other people think. It only matters what he thinks.”
The boy's mother, Tiffany Morones-Suttle, told WTVD in Raleigh, that her son was teased mercilessly over the show, which though targeted to girls also draws male enthusiasts of all ages called "bronies."
“He’s the kid that never walks. He dances everywhere,” she said adding, “He’s so full of energy. He’s always on the move."
The parents said that their son's favorite character is Pinkie Pie, a hyper excitable pony. The little boy, who has ADHD and rarely sits still for a minute, feels a connection to bouncy Pinkie Pie.
“A few weeks ago, Michael told us he wanted to take the bus straight home after school, instead of going to the boys and girls club with the other kids,” Suttle told Goldman, “and at the time, we thought it was because he wanted a chance to have the TV to himself for a couple hours before his brothers came home.“ Michael has a 13-year-old brother and a 5-year-old brother. The family only has one TV, so the boys tend to argue over what they watch.
“But now,” Suttle said quietly, “I wonder about why he wanted to come home instead of being with the other kids. He said to us that the other kids were telling him he was gay for loving Pinkie Pie and they were trying to make him feel ashamed for being gay. We said that we didn’t care if he was gay or straight; he was our son and we would love him.”
According to the parents the prognosis is uncertain. "We won't know for months how much is going to heal," his mother told WTVD. "It could even be years before we find out what potential for healing he has."
Fans of the show have donated money to help pay his medical bills, and there is a "Michael Morones Recovery Fund" on gofundme.com which has raised $50,000 as of Tuesday.
Members of the show's cast also recorded individual personal messages for the parents to play for their son.
According to Goldman the family intends to donate a portion of any donations to causes such as brain injury research, bullying prevention, etc.