Turns out Perez Hilton’s Twitter account can be used for good. Last August, the celebrity blogger alerted his more than 4 million followers to a YouTube video posted by Jonah Mowry, in which the tearful 14-year-old talks about being bullied for being gay since first grade.
This weekend, Hilton tweeted a link to a follow-up video that suggests that for at least one bullied teen, having your story go viral is the best anti-bullying message there is. “The Internet can often times be a big bad thing. But, in times like this, it can be quite beautiful!” Mr. Hilton wrote on his blog.
In the original video, Jonah shared the painful slurs he endured, as well as how he responded - by cutting himself and considering suicide. It did, however, end on a hopeful note. “I’m not going anywhere, because I’m stronger than that,” he said. “I have a million reasons to be here.”
He can add 3 million more reasons, which is the number of times the video has been viewed on YouTube, inspiring a Facebook tribute page and supportive tweets from Ricky Martin and Lady Gaga.
The difference four months can make is apparent in the new video, posted on Dec. 4. In it, Jonah is relaxed, chewing gum and with a friend at his side. “To the people who think nobody likes me… Everyone in my school loves me,” he says.
“He is so touched by all the love being sent his way,” Mr. Hilton blogged.
Are you inspired by this happy ending? Is it a sign of change - and the influence of anti-bullying messages from Rick Mercer and the like?