Sunny Burns is a 26-year-old model and actor who is currently working as an English teacher in Bangkok, Thailand.
If you haven't been keeping up with the news, there was a tragic terrorist attack Monday night in Bangkok. The police are still on the hunt for the bomber and released a video of the him leaving the backpack that allegedly contains the bomb. You can watch the video below.
Around the same time, Sunny posted two Instagrams in response the attacks:
Mum, Dad and my Aussie friends I'm safe... The bomb went off in a central shopping area called Central World where I always go to. It's very sad and scary and I'm lucky I was teaching. Many people were killed or injured and my heart goes out to the families who lost ones. I still feel very safe in Thailand and it shouldn't stop you from travelling to Bangkok. Thailand will get strong again. Please pray for Thailand. #prayforthailand #staysafe #fighting
I'm so deeply sadden and shocked by this bombing. I was only there a few days ago. I'm not scared nor is it going to stop me living in Thailand. We can't let this hurt the Thai economy and tourists need to know that it's ok to still come here. I will try my best to communicate with the Australian and UK media. Thailand is and will always be a safe and friendly place. Please don't let this stop you from coming to Bangkok and may all the victims rest in peace. #staystrong #prayforthailand #fight
Somehow a rumor started that Sunny was the attacker. Then the following side-by-side composite of Sunny's photo and the CCTV photo of the bomber started making the rounds on social media. Prasitchai Kumbang, a reporter with TV24 in Bangkok, even tweeted it, with the false claim that the two photos had been officially linked.
โยงมั่ว!ภาพผู้ต้องสงสัยบึ้มตามกล้องวงจรปิด(เสื้อเหลือง) ถูกโยงดาราSunnyBurns(คนขวาล่าง) ขออภัยถ้าโพสต์ทำให้เข้าใจผิด pic.twitter.com/0GGepUiY99— Prasitchai Kumbang (@Prasitchai_TV24) August 18, 2015
A bunch of hate-filled accusations started pouring into Burns's inboxes, in what soon became a public witch hunt. His immigration papers were posted online, as was his address. He quickly turned himself in to the police to clear things up. According to Burns:
'When I arrived [at the police station], I only know a bit of Thai, and the big scary boss he came and started screaming at me and I thought, "Oh my God, this is a set up. I'm going to be like Schapelle Corby but the terrorist version.'
He explained the truth to them, and luckily, the Thai police listened. He was there for six hours, and helped them find footage of himself during the attacks, which definitively proved he wasn't the attacker.
Here is the CV TV footage of where I was yesterday when I just got back from the muscle lab gym in Huai Kwang and getting ready to teach my Native Speaker class. The Royal Police has this and I would like to thank them for looking after me and being so supportive. Thank you for all your support and wish I could give my mumma a big hug. I will be speaking with media tomorrow but please let me sleep now. It's not a nice feeling being called a terrorist but phom yung rak khun prated thai #prayforthailand
I probably would've gone to my country's embassy first, but according to Burns, he had "no other choice." Thank god the Thai police was methodical and didn't jump to any conclusions. Now watch this video of Burns in a burger commercial to get your mind off things.