NEWS
10/27/2011 10:19 EDT | Updated 12/27/2011 05:12 EST

Rick Mercer's television rant against the bullying of gay teens goes viral

OTTAWA - Openly gay comedian Rick Mercer seems to have struck a chord with his call for an end to bullying in school by calling attention to the problem with one of his signature "rants."

Mercer added his voice Tuesday to the chorus of calls from opinion makers that the bullying of gay teens in school be stopped.

He featured the issue in one of his rants, a popular fixture on his CBC television program "The Rick Mercer Report."

The segment is now racking up hits on YouTube, with nearly 126,000 as of Thursday night.

The calls have been sparked by this month's suicide of openly gay Ottawa teenager Jamie Hubley who was bullied relentlessly by his peers.

In the video, Mercer points out that every year in Canada, 300 kids commit suicide _ a number he calls "mind-boggling."

He not only takes schools to task for not doing more to deal with bullying and finding out who exactly is responsible, but he also says adults _ particularly gay adults who are public figures _ need to stand up and be role models for gay teens.

Mercer says he knows gay cops, soldiers, athletes and cabinet ministers, for example.

"So if you're gay and you're in public life, I'm sorry, you don't have to run around with a Pride flag and bore the hell out of everyone, but you can't be invisible _ not anymore," Mercer says in his rant.

Jamie Hubley, the son of an Ottawa city councillor, had been suffering from depression and took his own life after months of suicidal musings on his blog and social-media websites.

His father, Allan Hubley, says bullying was part of the reason his son killed himself and that the family knew of several occasions when Jamie was treated cruelly because he preferred figure skating to hockey.