After appearing in the 2003 film School of Rock alongside Jack Black, then-child actor Brian Falduto was severely bullied for playing a character perceived to be gay.
Falduto played young fashionista Billy in the film, whose “You’re tacky and I hate you!” line is still quoted.
In real life, Falduto, then 11-years-old, returned to school after working on the film to a less-than-welcoming reception.
He shared his story with NowThis Entertainment:
“In the fifth grade, there was an ‘I Hate Brian’ club.
“In high school, someone sent a video around of me with the f-word. It was insulting. And I remember that was passed around, and then that kid got suspended, and then everyone was mad at me, because he got suspended.”
Related: Power Ranger David Yost: I Quit ‘Because I Was Called Faggot’ One Too Many Times’
To make matters worse, Falduto eventually realized he’s gay, but some damage had been done.
“All I knew at the time was that being gay was bad.
“It was meant to be insulting. If someone in your fifth grade class of boys called you gay, it was not cool.
“So I instantly shut it down. And so by the time that I realised that I was potentially gay, I was already homophobic.
“I replaced a lot of self-acceptance with self-repudiation and self-hatred. I wasn’t – I was the opposite of proud of who I was.
“Throughout my entire life, I never had anyone stop and tell me that it was ok to be me and even the people who supported me and loved me they just knew it was going to be difficult for me.
“I think that they wanted to change me because they knew they couldn’t change the world.
“What I’m learning now is that it’s actually the opposite. Like, we can’t change anything about the situation, but we can change how we react to the situation.”
Watch below, and check out Brian’s music here:
How the "Gay Kid" from School of Rock is Turning His Trauma into Empowerment for Others
'I got noticed because I stood out. And then I spent the rest of my life trying to not stand out.'
Posted by NowThis Entertainment on Sunday, July 1, 2018
Well he still is sassy but i’m Glad he’s been able to move on from the awful bullying. I can relate, I played a part in a school play and my character was similar so afterwards I was bullied and called faggot allot. The only gay person I knew was a lesbian who drank with my parents and her nickname was wet lips Wendy. So it was hard to want to be out, gay and proud at a young age. I hate to say this but kids have it so much easier now.
What makes you think it’s easier these days for kids? The same bullying and homophobia occurs and at least the same level if not more.
Nahald-its a LOT easier to come out in the western world today. People were killed before. People almost NEVER came out in HS.
Here is another illustration of the human savagery showing up in young peer groups.
It’s also very present in the way gay men treat each other.
Welcome to the real world. It sucks and I went through it in the 70’s so wow this was more intensely terrible then. I found myself being mean to other gay kids. Not cool and I am so sorry for all of the terrible things I did to others trying to hide from myself…
Ditto. I also found it interesting that most of the kids I hung out with in high school were also gay (but no one knew at the time). I guess it’s true, that people tend to gravitate towards those like themselves, even if the commonality isn’t apparent at the time.
Huh. The the lazy writing of having, yet again, the catty+effeminate+fashionista character be the main representation of gay boys/teens in mainstream movies/tv caused actual gay kids distress in the real world?
Who wudda thunk.
There is nothing wrong with the catty, effeminate, fashionista character, but there needs to be an array of gay characters.
He is just adorable…he was my favorite character in the movie, I am so happy he is doing okay now.
Stop me if i told you this one before (and if this comment gets real wordy be sure to read to the end
to claim your prize) but i grew up in a small midwest town in the late ’50’s -’60’s (right after the
mccarthy BEWARE OF HOMOSEXUALS IN THE GOV’T AS THEY ARE RIPE FOR
BLACKMAIL and etc era) but i’ll give you a hint where: it’s a suburb of the town that spawned
JAMES BAKKER and IGGY POP. my elementary school had a halloween costume contest which i
won 1st place for kindergartners for my GLINDA, THE GOOD WITCH OF THE NORTH
costume (at least party becuz i wore my mother’s bubblegum pink pageboy wig and she gave me a
full make up job) 1st place prize that year was a MORGAN silver $1. my older brother didn’t win
anything for his COWBOY costume but he did catch me a few yrs later at nine yrs old with my nose
in the asscrack of my best friend’s 8 yr old little brother. “i’m telling mom and dad!” was the first
thing he said to me. freaked me the hell out. “please don’t tell! i’ll do anything!” but by the time the
next day rolled around and he told me to do something i had calmed down and told him, “yeah, you
go tell them that and i’ll act like you are crazy. but i will come visit ya up at the nuthouse.” so i was
starting to get a bit of a BAD REPUTATION at an early age. in fact all thru school my nickname
was “FEM”. but enuff about my pedigree… the point i want to make is about my maternal
grandmother. she had to drop out in the 5th grade to help support her family but she was a natural in
psychology. she told me REPEATLY from an early age “john, i love you with all my heart and
THERE IS NOTHING YOU COULD EVER SAY OR DO THAT WOULD MAKE ME LOVE
YOU ANY LESS!” by nature i was a skeptical child but she said it enough and started early enough
it became part of my psyche. so if there is a child (gay or straight) that is close enough that you can
be their rock DO IT! in all my years i never had thoughts of suicide even at the worst of times and i
credit that to her telling me this.
she also told me the antidote to all this toxic racism (we’re all red on the inside) but i’ll save that
story for another time. right now i want to watch this guys video.
stupid-he wasn’t famous enough to be teased for “being famous”. Who remembers the kids in that marginally successful movie? 35 million budget “made” 131 million BO so it made about 50 million. He being gay was the reason the was teased. And we all went through it…
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