NEWS

Jimmy Kimmel-inspired 'mean tweets' spark anti-bullying campaign

03/18/2015 04:33 EDT | Updated 05/18/2015 05:59 EDT
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An anti-bullying campaign inspired by a segment on Jimmy Kimmel Live! where celebrities from Tom Hanks to Barack Obama read mean tweets about themselves is going viral.

The online campaign by the Toronto-based Canadian Safe School Network replaces celebrities with kids who read racist and homophobic tweets taken from the internet.

"And if anything, the ones that we selected were not nearly as raw as some of the stuff that you find on the net," said Stu Auty, president of the school network.

The video was posted last week and already has more than two million views. 

Auty said the idea for the video came from the Kimmel segment. 

"We could see the negativity of mean tweets supposedly being funny, that was part of the Kimmel thing, and so we decided to do a flip on it," he said.

"We start off our video with some laugh track as the kids read mean tweets, and then slowly go to quiet where there would be the punchline at the end where it's not funny to make fun of anybody."

'It really hit home for me'

The ad culminates with a girl who reads a tweet that says, "No one likes you. Do everyone a favour. Just kill yourself."

"I've been through bullying before and I've seen kids say those things before, so when I read it, it really hit home for me," said Alexa Carroccia of Windsor, Ont., the actress who read the tweet.

With the help of her friends, the 13-year-old stood up to a bully and said it has made all the difference.

"He's actually become a really good person now. He's been a lot nicer. And I believe that it kind of changed him," she said. 

"I think that's all they really need is someone to stand up to them."

Negative comments

Despite the anti-bullying message, the video is garnering a lot of negative comments online. 

"I think it's important for kids to see these messages because even in the comment section there's more cyberbullying there," Carroccia said.

"This is a bullying public service announcement and more than half the comments are negative, so I just think it really proves that there's a problem and we need to fix it."

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