March 21, 2011 at 9:26 AM ET
Since he finally snapped and fought back against his bully, 16-year-old Casey Heynes has become the subject of animated videos, been nicknamed "Little Zangief" after a videogame character, and turned into an all-around Internet sensation.
But how did this 16-year-old boy get to the point of feeling the need to bodyslam a bully? A very emotional interview with an Australian program called "A Current Affair" reveals the sad tale.
If you're not familiar with Heynes' Internet fame already, here are the basics of what the world saw in a — now removed — YouTube clip, as described by our own Wilson Rothman:
A scrawny bully sucker punches a larger chunkier boy multiple times, as other kids look on, some taunting. Then suddenly, with the speed and agility of an alligator, the victim responds, flipping the kid and bodyslamming him. Bully neutralized.
After that video made its rounds, Internet denizens began to either proclaim Heynes to be a hero or to shout that he is no better than Ritchard Gale, his bully.
But now, we can see hear about what happened — and more importantly, why it happened — in Heynes' own words:
The boy has gone through years of bullying and even considered killing himself a year ago because of how it affected his life. Thanks to the support of his parents and his sister, he got through the pain — but that didn't prevent the recent incident with Gale.
Heynes understands in hindsight that he could've severely injured the smaller boy, but he did what he saw as the only way to stop the punches from flying at him.
Based on an interview with a program called "Today Tonight," Gale may not agree entirely. While the boy apologized for how he treated Heynes, he also expressed that he feels that his victim provoked the bullying.
He also reveals that he had also been a victim of bullying himself.
There you have it. These two interviews showed us what's happening behind an Internet sensation, but at the same time they forced the issue of bullying into the media spotlight. Perhaps all that attention will lead to a more open dialogue about the issue and prevent future bodyslamming videos.