Facebook video, Shellie Pedone - Screenshot
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A 15-year-old boy from Hudson Falls, New York, was reportedly lured by bullies in his Spider-Man costume to a local park, where he was savagely attacked and left with a broken nose.
Footage of the attack has emerged online, showing middle schooler Aydin Pedone dressed as the iconic costumed hero, fielding insults and jeers from passersby.
One classmate can be heard asking whether Pedone's "spider sense" is "tingling."
Amid the insults, a girl in red approaches Pedone, winds up and attempts to hit him in the face with an open-handed strike. While Pedone deftly dodges his attacker's first attempt, she lands her second with a crack.
Pedone staggers back, holding himself up by a metal gate, as the girl strides away, laughing. He ultimately yanks off his mask, revealing a bloody mess of a nose. Though wounded, he did not reciprocate with violence.
The Hudson Falls Police Department confirmed in a statement that around 4:30 p.m. on June 21, the boy was struck in the face by a 14-year-old girl and "sustained significant injury to his nose, which will require further medical intervention."
The 14-year-old girl was later arrested and charged with one count of assault in the second degree, a class D felony. She will appear at the Washington County Probation Department at a later date.
The boy's mother, Shellie Pedone, noted that his affinity for the Marvel character has elicited scorn and abuse from other kids, particularly after he started the sixth grade, reported the New York Post.
"My son was attacked for the purpose of bored teenage entertainment, targeted for being different than them, and viciously attacked because of having the courage to stand out from the crowd and be himself," Shellie Pedone, the boy's mother, wrote on Facebook. "He has that kind of heart that only sees the good in people. Is this the kind of kid that deserves to have his nose broken, unprovoked, and witnessed by nearly a dozen peers standing around to watch, record and laugh at him?"
Support has poured in from others in the community who recognize Pedone as a "gentle and loving kid" who had taken to wearing the costume to advocate against bullying at school.
An individual identified as Edward Anthony started a fundraiser for the lad to "show Aydin that he is a true hero," adding, "Aydin is a very kind kid, who loves comics, videos games, and cosplay. He is regularly bullied in school, and this situation is absolutely unacceptable."
The GoFundMe has already raised over $11,455 to send the boy and his family to the Avengers Campus at Disney California Adventure, where Spider-Man is a featured hero. Additional proceeds will allegedly go toward funding the 15-year-old's martial arts training, such that he'll know how best to respond to the next punch thrown his way.
"I am beyond overjoyed with all that has happened this week," Shellie Pedone wrote on Facebook. "Seeing my son's true spirit shine and fly high while crawling out of such a dark hole is a long overdue dream come true. ... The world can be beautiful, and it extends much farther than within the walls of a toxic school environment. I am beyond grateful for all the positive that has come out of this experience."
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Joseph MacKinnon is a staff writer for Blaze News.