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Voting in cute baby contest halted after parents’ snide comments about rivals

Public voting in an Australian clothing company’s baby pageant competition has been cancelled because of out-of-control parents sledging the appearances of other parents’ infants.

Bonds Baby Search has announced staff will now pick the daily winners and they have also introduced a pets category into the competition that has an overall prize pool of $40,000.

Bonds marketing manager Emily Small told the Herald Sun the changes were aimed at making the contest a more “inclusive celebration of babies”.

“In the spirit of celebration, there will be no voting this year. Instead there will be a daily winner, chosen at random, and two overall Wonderbub winners selected by us,” the company said.

In 2014, the competition took a turn for the worst with some entrants suffering online abuse, including one finalist being labelled “hideous” and “just plain and weird” looking.

New mother Eleri Harris, who has experienced online abuse about her physical appearance in the past, said she was not surprised babies had also fallen victim.

“Isn’t that the state of … social media interactions, if there is a platform for someone else to say that someone’s physical appearance sucks, that’s what happens,” Harris said. “We do it to adults, I’m not surprised we do it to babies.”

However, her husband Tom Burmester was shocked the competition had a nasty side.

“These are horrible snob monsters,” he said. “Everyone loves babies, traffic stops for them. Babies have a special pass in society and I’m surprised that doesn’t extend to the internet.”

The couple said they would be unlikely to enter their son Jarvis, who was born last September.

They were reluctant to plaster their social media fe with pictures of their son. “Where’s the consent there?” Burmester asked.

Another new mum Hannah Richardson agreed the online baby attacks were likely an extension of the internet age in which people could say horrible things online anonymously that they wouldn’t say in person.

“The vitriol is a bit sad,” she said. “My experience of other mothers and parents has been that everyone is fairly collegiate and supportive. It’s surprising to me that parents would be mean.”

Richardson said she understood why some parents would enter the competition because they were proud of their bubs, but she had other priorities in her life and wouldn’t enter Elowen, born last July.

Some social media users were pleased they will no longer be bombarded with voting requests on Facebook from their friends with children.

Kyla Smith

I am beyond overjoyed that this year’s #bondsbabysearch is not based on voting. No more pretending that I’ve voted for every fucking child on my Facebook feed just to shut their mums up yaaassssss

February 6, 2019

Kate Fox

“Sure, I’ll vote for your kid in the Bonds Baby Search,” I said seconds before my pants caught fire.

March 4, 2018

Alex Lee

Without context, the Bonds Baby Search sounds like a very depressing register for missing children.

March 1, 2018