Trolls target Toy Show girl Lara with barrage of hateful messages
A little girl who appeared on the Late Late Toy Show was the subject of a vile barrage of social media messages, leaving her family horrified.
Lara Reddy, an adorable six-year-old from Swords, stole the country's hearts when she spoke to host Ryan Tubridy about various toys and sang Let it Go from the Disney film Frozen.
However, the little girl attracted vile abuse online as soon as she started singing joke lyrics about one of her favourite toys. The words to the song were: "My Little Pony, skinny and bony, went to the stable, to die on the table".
This song prompted a torrent of tweets. Some comments related to Lara's ethnicity, others made fun of her and a number of users labelled her as "spoiled". Her picture also became a meme and a number of mocking pictures were also shared online.
However, other Twitter users did come to Lara's defence, reminding people she was just a young girl who didn't deserve to be targeted in such a vicious way.
A friend of the family said they were hurt by the online abuse and were considering all of their options when it came to filing an official complaint, including contacting the gardai.
"A lot of the racist comments came from fake Twitter accounts and a lot of them have been deleted as well. They haven't made a decision yet, but they firmly believe this type of abuse shouldn't be allowed to go on," the friend told the Herald.
"They want to hold these people to account, but it is so hard to get a conviction in cases like this."
The source added that Lara had "an absolute ball" on the show, but that the comments had spoiled the experience for them as a family.
"It's a pity that some nasty people had to tarnish it with hurtful and hateful comments online," they said.
"Hopefully, people will think twice before posting these kind of comments online in the future. To be on the Late Late Toy Show is something all kids dream about - it's something she'll remember forever.
"She's just a child, she didn't deserve that but, thankfully, she is too young to see any of it."
Her father Mark immediately came to his young daughter's defence on his Twitter account on Friday night when the abuse began.
Referring to the alternative lyrics used by Lara, he said: "She's singing it at home daily, there are many variations."
Mark also expressed his pride at his young daughter's on-air performance.
"Have to be the proudest dad in the world today. Nerve wracking but RTE staff were outstanding and lovely," he tweeted.
Despite the unpleasant trolling, Mark said that Lara had thoroughly enjoyed the experience, describing it as "the memory of a lifetime".
Mr Reddy and RTE did not wish to comment when contacted by the Herald last night, but it is believed he will be speaking on the Ryan Tubridy Show on RTE Radio 1 this morning.
Meanwhile, it was announced earlier this week that the Late Late Toy Show was the most-watched programme of the year so far.
More than 1.36 million people tuned in to the show last Friday night.