A 14-year-old girl who was the face of Australia’s iconic hat company Akubra killed herself after enduring online bullying, her family said Sunday.
Amy “Dolly” Everett, who began the ad campaign when she was 8, died last week to “escape the evil in this world,” her father Tick Everett wrote in a Facebook post.
“This week has been an example of how social media should be used, it has also been an example of how it shouldn’t be,” Everett wrote.
The family released a separate statement on Wednesday to Australia’s ABC Network saying their daughter’s death was the world “crashing down” on them, but thanked the public for the “overwhelming” support.
“This is all we are capable of at the moment and ask for your respect to give us time to grieve,” the family said. “Our daughter Dolly was the kindest, caring, beautiful soul, and she was always caring for animals, small children, other children at boarding school who were less fortunate than herself.”
Akubra also posted a tribute to Dolly Everett on Tuesday, saying the company was “shocked and distressed” to hear about the girl’s death.
“We are shocked and distressed to hear of the passing of ‘Dolly’ — the young girl many of you will recognize from our past Christmas adverts,” the company wrote on Instagram while sharing a photo of the girl, taken when she was 6 for its ad.
The messaged continued: “Dolly chose to end her life to escape the bullying she was being subjected to. She was not even 15 years old. To think that anyone could feel so overwhelmed and that suicide was their only option is unfathomable. Bullying of any kind is unacceptable.”
“Our hearts go out to Dolly’s family and friends. Amy ‘Dolly’ Everett 1.5.2003-3.1.2018,” the company wrote.
Hundreds of people expressed their condolences on social media. The family launched a campaign to raise awareness on bullying and harassment. Everett’s father also called for the people who bullied their daughter to attend the funeral.
“If by some chance the people who thought this was a joke and made themselves feel superior by the constant bullying and harassment see this post, please come to our service and witness the complete devastation you have created,” he said.