the taunted tribe

Lance Bass + Neil Patrick Harris Tell Kids It Gets Better. Now How About We Hear From Celebrity Bullies?

Sure, MTV may have turned itself into a television network of ethnic stereotypes and teenagers having babies, but the one thing the cable giant can do is mobilize celebrities. This week MTV — which is about to say goodbye to the very people responsible for making the networks what it is today — has used its massive reach and to turn around anti-bullying PSAs as quickly as news of the suicides arrive.

Above, Lance Bass, who says he was “the first person to jump on the bandwagon to make fun of a gay person.” Below, Neil Patrick Harris and Nicki Minaj. All three count themselves among the queer community, which, duh, is an important factor in trying to communicate with LGBT youth.

But ya know who I’d love to see videos from? Celebrities who built their image on being bullies. 50 Cent. Eminem. (You can sit this one out, Mel Gibson.) Have these folks get in front of a camera, talk about why they act like assholes to other people. Tell us about your childhood, and how you used bullying as a defense mechanism. Take us inside the minds of people who taunt other kids, call them names, and go home and sleep at night. Especially you, 50; you’ve got a lot of making up to do.

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  • John K

    god, here we go with the celebrities piling on a trendy issue band wagon….important issue but celebrity publicity seekers are too much.

  • Richard

    Oh, god, now bass is letting us know how he bullied the obvious queers. Why does the media insist on repeatedly humoring his delusion that he’s a “straight acting gay”?

  • Kev C

    Hey gay kid in school, like, don’t kill yourself because, um whut? Oh yeah, It Gets Bette® ..and stuff. Yeah, hehe.

  • Craig

    @ No 2 Richard: Nail on head dude…this is all so predictable.

  • alan brickman

    He is such a bigger loser now….

  • alan brickman

    Most bullying is by closet cases….

  • Enron

    I agree, if we could get the message to LGBT children in both high school and college that they should just hold on and persevere through their trials and tribulations they will see that life has a lot for them ahead. The message needs to be clear, when you are an adult, have a job, making your own money it can do so much for you, you can either leave a homophobic community, meet new people who are accepting, tolerant, share your ideals and even start a relationship. The key to this though is the education. Yes, I know how they feel, to go through 5 years of high school/4 years of college being bullied.

    You have to look at it as just a period, these are people who you are likely not to encounter again after you graduate, and if you do, its likely hi and bye.

  • Richard


    I’m sorry, but if the LGBT “children” in college need to be told that if they just hold on and persevere it’ll get better, we’re holding the hands of today’s gay youth a little too much. High school…with its captive, helpless, young audience is certainly deserving of our sympathies. If a 19 year old at a typical liberal college isn’t able to deal with bullying on his own, he’s gonna be up a creek when he encounters all the various forms of discrimination gays face in the “real world”.

  • Peter

    Butch? Lance, please. I don’t see him bullying anyone. He’s such a nellie sissy unless he really butched it up in school but no amount of acting could cover him.

  • DD1G

    Sorry but Lance Bass and Neil Patrick Harris generically saying “Hey, hang in there, it gets better” is cliche and will likely go in and out of a kids ears. Seriously, do these videos have more power than the face to face hellion shoving you in the locker, or the cocky popular kid taunting you in P.E. (while recruiting their friends to join in?)

    I was bullied as a kid, and occasionally had adults in my life saying the same type of things: “Hang in there, it’ll get better…just ignore them…they’re the one’s with the problem,” etc., etc. Very Hallmarkish. It meant nothing from 8am to 2pm, during the times when I was walking down the hallways being heckled, snidely whispered about, getting condescending looks, and having no one actually in my corner.

    Celebrity PSAs are nice and all, but let’s be real: 50% of them are for publicity and are plastic. It’s the schools that need to enforce stricter policies when it comes to bullying. Even if Lance Bass’ words were enough to encourage some kid to not kill themselves this Saturday, come Monday morning said kid is still going to have to encounter what made him miserable last week all over again. Fix THAT.

  • Tom

    There were bullies in the Glee Club?

  • David

    I think Lance must be trying to rewrite history. His gayness can be seen from outer space.

  • jason

    If you observe the behavior of boys up to the age of 4 or 5, you’ll notice that it’s a generally relaxed type of behavior. Boys at this age often touch other boys of the same age in a completely innocent and non-phobic way.

    However, when parents see this, they start to worry. Both mothers and fathers start to discourage their sons from touching other boys. They do it in exceptionally devious ways. A father, for instance, might play aggressive games with his young son to try to “toughen him up”. A mother might tell her son that “boys don’t kiss each other”.

    Little girls, however, are not treated in this way by their parents. Little girls are effectively “bisexualized” by their parents. They are encouraged to think of other girls as “pretty” (note Barbie Doll influence) and are permitted to hold hands without either their mothers or fathers trying to discourage it.

    This double standard is exceptionally important in understanding the basis of homophobic bullying in schools. Boys resent the fact that they’ve been told by their parents to not touch other boys in the completely innocent way that they’ve been doing in the past.

    The resentful boys then project their resentment onto other boys, hence the homophobic bullying.

  • jason

    As for MTV, I’m not falling for its superficial and disingenuous attempt to appear as if it’s helping the GLBT community. MTV has done enormous harm to gays over the years through its support of homophobic rappers and hip-hop performers.

    Much of the anti-gay bullying we see today – especially at the college level – is directly due to MTV’s encouragement of homophobic slurs through performers like Eminem and 50 Cent.

  • AdonisOfFire

    Ugh, Lance Bass comes off as such a HUGE asshole when refering to suicide “yeah, it’s really unnecesary right now”…wait, what? Obviously it is not necessary, but he is saying it like he is commenting on someone deciding if they are gonna wear some ugly outfit or not, such an idiot.

    Then he talks about how he was friends with everybody because he had nice clothes and money…bitch, what? FUCK YOU! nobody cares about your delusional “I’m a gay diva goddess” fantasy, you are not respected or even liked amongst the gay community for the most part.

    His whole attitude is not of worry or concern or even of compassion and sympathy, it is a condescending attitude of a typical superficial little queen (just look at his hair! OMG) who just wants attention and just wants to feel pretty and doesn’t give a shit about anyone else but himself.

  • AdonisOfFire

    God, they come off as incredibly stupid and unarticulate.

  • jason

    I would like to see normal, average gay guys who have actually been bullied, not these celebrity douchebags who use the media to further their careers and enhance their bank accounts.

  • Kev C

    If these kids think they’re being bullied now, wait a while. It gets better.

  • Spence

    So tired of D to B list stars jumping on bandwagons.

  • Lauren

    Lance Bass came off as so insincere — he was smiling and so happy throughout the whole piece that it made me sick.

    These PSA’s were so “light” – just call a phone number and everything will be ok. NOT. These kids will experience years of bullying ahead of them. We, as a community, must grow a spine. We, as a community, must insist on a Zero Tolerance for cultural homophobia; even the little stuff. Until we, in large numbers, start to get really angry & stay angry, things will probably not change much in the coming years. Generation after generation, things pretty much have stayed the same. Want that?

  • AL


    Things have NOT pretty much stayed the same, generation after generation.

    Sure, there is still a lot of room for improvement but people today are, at least in the developed world, overwhelmingly more tolerant of differences than they were generations ago.

    My mom would tell you that people are on average, more tolerant of open homosexuals today in most small, rural, predominantly religious communities than they were in the “liberal” coastal California city where she lived 50 years ago. Even in places like that, gays had to keep a low profile if they did not want to be harassed.

    Young people today are noticeably more supportive of gays than they were when I was in high school a decade ago, despite the bullying that still does exist.

  • AdonisOfFire


    That’s what I’ve been saying, we gays are an easy target because most of us simply do not fight back but shrivel up and curl into a ball and wait to be rescued like a burn victim. Sorry, but that ain’t gonna work, we need active militant protests and we need to demand respect and not tolerate any shit AT ALL instead of crying like a baby all the time. People associate being gay with being weak, that has to change, and we need to show we can give it as good as we get it…and then some.

  • Dan

    Well as long as gay adults and allied adults let adult bullies get away with violating human rights, there will still be a message that bullying gay people is okay. How about stopping the ultimate bullies – the politicians, religious leaders, etc. who violate the human rights of gay people?

  • David

    It’s nice that these d-listers want to try to do some good, but it’s not going to change anything for bullied gay kids.

    For anything to change, the message from politicians and churches has to change. As long as we continue to be demeaned by our government and demonized by churches, hatred and bigotry against us is the predictable outcome. What else could be expected, really.

  • Alex Sarmiento

    Why is everyone ragging on Lance Bass? (I don’t expect a simple answer. I’ve been asking that question since 2006.)

  • damon459

    Why rag on him because we as a “community” seem to love to bitch about everyone and everything. I just love watching the LGBT community at large bitching about anyone who is at least doing something rather then sitting on their backside bitching. I came out 12 yrs old I was verbally abused and got into more fights then I care to remember and even though I held my own often enough it didn’t make school any easier. When I got into HS I asked the older LGBT people I knew why they didn’t do more to help the next generation of LBGT people and they said we don’t want to be labeled as child molesters which is the crappiest excuse I ever heard. I’m now 31 and still I hear people using the same tired excuse. So either help the next generation or stop bitching about them not showing any respect to their “elders” in the community.

  • ADC

    Delusions of Grandeur. I refuse to believe that Lance Bass was ever one of the “cool kids” who was able to join in on making fun of the kids at the dork table. Justin Timberlake, sure…Joey Fatone, definitely…hell, I can even believe JC Chesez may have gotten away with being mean from time to time.

    But Lance Bass? Sorry, but no. Any gay kid he called himself trying to pick on should have turned around and socked him in the jaw.

  • Cam

    @Alex Sarmiento:

    I think a lot of people “Rag” on Lance Bass, because he has jumped headlong into being and making money as a “Professional Gay”. He kept closeted the entire time he was relevent, then after his time of fame in NSYNC was over, he dissappeared, then was the target of an outing by Perez Hilton. He responded, by suddenly trying to appear out in public with women until finally the pictures on Perez Hiltons site became too much and he finally confirmed the rumor. Suddenly he seemed to be everywhere, at every gay event as if he had annointed himself as spokesperson for “The Gays”.

    As somebody who has come out every place I have ever worked, brought dates to company events even if I worked in a homophobic environment….Something about Bass’s attitude just comes off a little douchy to me.

  • Kyle412

    How is Lance Bass even relevant to gay youth from ages 14 to 22? The guy hasn’t had a career in close to a decade. Many young gays don’t even remember him in his “hey day”. Shouldn’t we be hearing these PSAs from people that actually are known and connect with young people today?

  • alan brickman

    Lots of women and queeny gays saying bullying is wrong….where are the masc straight guys or sports players making videos in this one?….interesting….

  • Patrick

    Just because Lance is out now it does not take away from the fact that he’s a douche bag. Not all gay is good, just because you think you speak for gay people does not mean we want you to.

  • Bubblicious

    Is Lance Bass the BEST our community has to offer? If so, we are doomed.

  • Blake J

    Wow, there are some really douche-like comments being left for this story.

    This is not the only activism that NPH and LB participate in; it is just a different area to put focus on!

    All those who are disrespecting them, please list what you are doing to help.

  • Ben

    They are publicity whores, no more, no less…

  • Sauerkraut

    Why not create queer-only schools?

    I hated my school so that is a dream I have.

    Only needs some test to identify who
    qualifies to go there :)

  • Kieran

    If Lance Bass doesn’t say anything about gay bullying he’d be bitched at. If Lance Bass does say something about gay bullying he’s bitched at. The only thing that would (maybe) garner support from the bitchy gay males here is if Lance Bass jumped off the George Washington Bridge and and left a suicide note blaming it on his Christian upbringing.

  • ewe

    @damon459: Help the next generation you say? Do you have any concept of what previous gay generations have gone through? You got it much better than we did. Those are real facts and it is not that way because everyone sat on their asses. And i have and had it much better than those 20 years older than me. Research Harry Hay, Harvey Milk to name two. Who the hell is this generations gay mentor? Adam Lambert? When i was 31, people were dying all around me gasping for lifes next breath. I don’t even know what the fuck you are talking about. And you don’t either.

  • Michael

    I would like to hear from anybody who has ever been bullied by Lance Bass. Sorry, but I’m just not getting a mental picture of plausibility.

  • Lauren

    @ Al
    If you want to take a serious look at the issue of Homophobia in America today – read ‘Ties that Bind’ by Sarah Schulman. It was published recently. Schulman is a former member of Act-Up, a playwright & a professor of Literature in NYC.

    She makes so many good points. We have to be honest and recognize all the cultural homophobia & heterosexism around us.

    We are in fact, 2nd class citizens in our own country. You cannot get married, join the military and you can be fired for being gay in most states. We have state-sanctioned Homophobia. Some of our youth are being bullied to death.

    When the issue of marriage equality has been put up to a vote in state after state, we have lost time & time again. Straight voters CHOOSE TO DENY US RIGHTS, our basic human dignity, over and over. Have you heard of Prop 8?

    Remember, it is understood that, nowadays, straight people Know some gay people personally in their lives. So when those straights went to the ballot box and voted No on Marriage Equality, they were voted No on basic human rights/civil rights for people in their lives that they actually knew, and maybe were ‘friends’ with. (This was not the case in the 40’s & 50’s, gays were not out & most straights did not have gay people in their lives).

    We are more OUT than ever. We have that Visibility that we were told was so important to ending the Homophobia. Turns out that wasn’t so true. It will take much more than Visibility to end Homophobia.

    If things are so great for gays in rural, religious America, why does almost every gay person want to move out of there so fast?

    Has there been some change & improvement over the years? Yes, some, of course. But we have a long, long, long way to go. The lgbt community needs to be seen as just another part of the fabric of American society. Homosexuality should be seen as equal to heterosexuality.

  • Matt

    I just watched this and a more honest PSA would have been it will get better but there is a chance that it won’t. If it doesn’t get better you need a good support group to help you through these.

    I love how Lance Bass says clothes, money, etc don’t matter but yet we have LOGO putting on the A-list in which clothes, money, power, and looks mean everything.

  • ewe

    @Kieran: NO. He could also garner support by just being quiet. Please. Next up will be Justin Beiber saying he is a bully. It is the same scenario.

  • Erika


    I work at a daycare and I know exactly what you’re talking about. In a room with TWO YEAR OLDS, I once had a parent of a little boy scold her son for hugging his friend. These were toddlers. She said, “Uh uh uh! Boys don’t hug boys. Shake his hand.”
    It’s so sad :(
    I will never do my children that way, and if they happen to be gay, then they will be very lucky b/c I will support them all that I can and try my best to make sure that they know bullies will be be bullies in any given situation regardless of sexual orientation.

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