Can Justin Bieber Empathize With Bully Victims?Heather Turgeon
This weekend Justin Bieber was in a bit of a laser tag skirmish. Apparently, he was harassed at an arcade, when a 12-year-old boy lobbed an “anti-gay” slur at him, after backing him into a corner and “shooting him” repeatedly.
Depending on the account you read, Bieber either allegedly punched him, or swatted the boy away with his hand. We’re not sure who started it. Either way, Beiber says he felt what it was like to be the subject of ridicule and homophobia.
Now he wants to throw his weight behind the anti-bullying initiative and will make public remarks about the issue this week. Helpful? Or does it belittle the problem to have a teen star empathize with victims of bullying?
Bieber apparently had 12 of his entourage around him, so he wasn’t exactly in the a powerless, exposed position characteristic of a bullied kid. And the real impact of being bullied doesn’t come from one hateful comment like this — it’s a pattern of repeated aggression over time.
But Bieber is in a position to say something meaningful to kids who feel bullied, and I hope he does. I’m sure it’s far from being his first time feeling ridiculed — being a celebrity opens you up to that in a unique way. We’ll see if he can say something from the heart about his own experience (and not over dramatize the laser tag moment).
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