Mom Upset After Matt Rife Starts 'Beef' With Her 6-Year-Old Son And Tells Him Santa Isn't Real

After everything else, now he's mocking a six-year-old on Instagram. What is going on with Matt Rife?

Matt Rife Debby Wong / Shutterstock

Comedian Matt Rife's meteoric rise has taken a series of bizarre turns in recent months that have caused tons of uproar online. But the most recent chapter in his saga is on a whole new level, even for someone who seems to very obviously be courting controversy for publicity's sake.

Influencer Bunny Hedaya was furious after Matt Rife started beef with her six-year-old son on Instagram.

Rife has made a name for himself over the past few years as the pretty boy of comedy — and has the extensive female fanbase to prove it.


Or, at least he did. That all began to change in November 2023 when his Netflix special "Matt Rife: Natural Selection" came out and kicked off with a joke about domestic violence that struck many as misogynistic, tasteless, and unfunny.

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That, combined with alleged alterations to his appearance that seem targeted to make him more closely fit a supposedly male ideal — especially the lantern-jawed "Chad" aesthetic aspired to by "incels" in the darkest corners of the far-right internet — has led to speculation that Rife is now actively courting not just a male audience, but a specifically right-leaning, "anti-woke" misogynist one. 

That is, the sort of post-Trump audience that scores of comedians, journalists, pundits, politicians, and even just regular old interlopers like George Santos have discovered is lucrative on a level that is arguably unparalleled — at least in comparison to being the nice guy heartthrob of comedy, anyway. 

Like misogyny, open cruelty toward children is of course nothing new among many of the luminaries of this particular media world. Belatedly, Rife seems to have decided to lean into this, too — all because the six-year-old son of Bunny Hedaya corrected him about which planets have rings. 

When Hedaya's son corrected one of Rife's jokes about astronomy, Rife lashed out at the little boy with misogynistic mockery of his mother.

It all began with a joke from Rife's Netflix special in which he teases a female astrology devotee for being mad "because Jupiter's got rings and you don't." Hedaya's fans, who know of her son's famous enthusiasm for astronomy, tagged her in the comments of a clip online.


In a rare crossing of her no-kids-on-social-media rule, Hedaya allowed her son to respond to Rife on Instagram to inform him he'd name-checked the wrong planet. "Also you're mean to girls," the little boy added.

Considering the video features a six-year-old talking to a 28-year-old grown man, it's hard to classify it as an act of aggression, but given his response, Rife clearly disagreed.


After defending his characterization of Jupiter as having rings, Rife went on to comment, "Oh, and Santa Claus isn't real. Your mom buys you presents with the money she makes on [adult entertainment platform] OnlyFans. Good luck."

It's hard to nail down the worst part of this response — the fact Rife lashed out at a kindergartener in the first place, or the fact that he told a six-year-old child his mom is an adult entertainment worker. The part about Santa Claus almost seems entirely irrelevant in comparison.

Regardless, Rife's new right-wing base will surely cheer his exposure of a child to an adult entertainment platform, despite the fact that accusing LGBTQ people of exposing children to adult content simply by existing has become their entire ethos.

Rife seems to have calculated what many of us already know — it's perfectly fine by conservatives to rub adult content in a kid's face, so long as the "right kind" of person is the one doing it.


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Hedaya called out Rife for his inappropriate response to her child, and he has since deleted the comment. 

"I am not the type of content creator that usually talks about other people...for views," Hedaya said in her response. "I focus my content only on me because guess what, Matt? I'm interesting enough on my own."



"But I also didn't pay for my looks, so that's not really what people follow me for," she continued, sniping at Rife about his allegedly extensive plastic surgery.


She went on to condemn Rife for the fact that he "clearly took a lighthearted video and turned it into fighting with a six-year-old," and then put him in place for his open sexism.

"You can't accept the fact that people may like women for their personalities," she said. "You stick to [appealing to] the men that you need validation from, and I will gladly take your female audience."

"I really wish you luck on what's left of your career," Hedaya went on to say. "Keep my child's name out of your mouth." Rife has since deleted his comment. 

The incident in which Rife started beef with a six-year-old is just the latest way he seems to be bizarrely acting out.

Rife's new direction since launching his Netflix special is perplexing. After riding the wave of an almost exclusively female audience to seemingly overnight fame, his pivot toward misogynistic humor is an interesting choice in and of itself.


But his seeming shock and indignance at the blowback he has received is even stranger — and the very definition of "can dish it, but can't take it."

A perfect example is an incident in November wherein Chicago plastic surgeon Dr. Benjamin Caughlin cryptically referenced having constructed "the greatest jawline ever seen" for a "canceled" male celebrity people immediately assumed was Rife.

Despite never having been named, Rife quickly appeared in Caughlin's comments writing that "lying about medical history is illegal, just FYI." Rife of course then became the laughingstock of the comments section for having essentially voluntarily outed himself as the client in question.


It's tempting to wonder what exactly is going on with him. Is this simply the price of fame and ambition — that it gets to your head and under your skin, destabilizing you and making you act out? 

Perhaps. Probably, even. And it is sad to imagine the pain involved — people don't act out because they're just bad people, after all. They act out because they're hurt and angry, and often too undone by those feelings to be able to see any other path forward.

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But all the empathy in the world cannot cancel out the unavoidable context of Rife's belated pivot: We live in a time when the old maxim that "there's no such thing as bad publicity" has never been more true. Our last president rode that ethos all the way to the most powerful position in the world. 


And in a problem social media companies seem either incapable or unwilling to address, we have known for years now that offensive content appealing to an angry right-wing "anti-woke" (whatever that means) audience performs far better online, way more easily than the content Rife used to.

This is because, as an extensive university study in 2020 found, right-wing extremist content and other content that appeals to these demographics — like, say, misogynist comedy routines — is routinely given major boosts by problematic algorithms, especially on YouTube and X, aka Twitter, even for users who are not interested in right-wing extremist content. 

Facebook and Instagram infamously have similar problems. And such content being pushed by all those algorithms means one thing: extremely lucrative monetization for those who create it.

It's easy to get the impression that Rife, like so many others, has noticed this, and has also realized that creating a sense of male grievance — a persona of a supposedly nice guy under attack by "woke" crybabies who don't like it when you mock domestic violence — helps push that monetization along.


So, why not beef with a six-year-old if it enrages and delights all the right people? And around and around we go. Even this article you're currently reading is ultimately part of the problem.

As those of us who find Rife's approach inappropriate and unseemly all sit and wonder why he would ever want to alienate his female audience in favor of an angry male, he, like so many before him, is likely making a mint from the cordoned-off corners of the media ecosphere where stunts like telling a six-year-old that his mother is a sex worker play like an underdog's righteous triumph.

But like all those who've done the same math, he'll soon find out that continuing to feed that beast requires even more bombastic stunts and ever-lower blows. Beefing with a six-year-old will quickly cease to be a sufficiently low bar. Best of luck to him with all that.

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John Sundholm is a news and entertainment writer who covers pop culture, social justice and human interest topics.