• Tue, Jan 14 - 4:30 pm ET

These Guys Who Made A Video About Bullying Are Total Bullies

Screen Shot 2014-01-14 at 12.19.38 PMTwo young men got together to make a video about bullying. They wanted to shed some light on how so many people are comfortable looking away in situations where someone is being harassed. I get the message they were trying to send, but they come off like bullies themselves.

 

 

So, what exactly do these young men want the public to do. Get involved? I understand that in theory that’s great, but in reality – not so much.

Repeatedly, the men rough up “victims” in front of other people, to see who will “help.” Often times, these witnesses are alone. The witnesses are then chided for not saving the day.That is ridiculous and unfair.

The first scene involves a boy doing his homework in a hall. What makes you think this kid wants to go from doing his homework, to getting beat up? Is he a jerk for deciding to stay anonymous, or is he scared, too? I don’t like the way the makers of this video make the fact that someone is getting bullied the fault of some totally innocent bystander.

“How come you didn’t help out?”

Who is to say that some of the witnesses who were walking away weren’t intending to call campus security or point it out to someone else who could help? Advising kids to get physically involved in physical altercations is just not a good idea in my opinion. When one petite woman gets involved, even I as a viewer wanted to applaud her. But how is she expected to defend herself against a much larger guy? If this was reality, it could have gone really, really bad.

“Hey everybody looking right now – there’s a camera right there and you guys just walked away from a guy getting brutally beat and you guys did nothing to help him… I’m done with this video. This is a joke.”

It’s one thing to make the point not to turn a blind eye – quite another to shame and bully people for being scared themselves.

(photo: YouTube)

You can reach this post's author, Maria Guido, on twitter.
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  • Kay_Sue

    Yeah…self-preservation is a very basic instinct. I don’t think we should fault people for evaluating a situation. It doesn’t mean that they approve.

    My first grader and I were having a conversation about bullying because a few days ago he said, “There’s this girl in my class and every one says she eats boogers and nobody wants to be around her, but I know that’s not true. She doesn’t really eat boogers.” And we talked about how, in some situations, if you feel safe enough, you can speak up when you hear things like that–you can say, “She does not eat boogers!” and how if you don’t feel safe, you can retreat and tell an adult. Also how if you feel threatened, you should absolutely tell an adult–period. If someone is being physical, you should absolutely tell an adult and not get involved. So it seems like by this video’s scale, I just taught my son to ignore bullying–but in reality, I’m trying to give him the tools to help others because he is a compassionate fellow while still making sure he is safe too.

  • Mila

    Yes, what I would do by myself in a situation is very different from what I would do with my friend or husband next to me. As much as I may not like something, I like my safety that much more.

  • Paul White

    Wait, multiple violent people getting physical and they’re surprised people didn’t want to physically intervene.
    The only way I’d intervene is if I was armed and could draw on them, or if I could cold cock one from behind. I wonder how they’d feel after that?

    • Kay_Sue

      For real. I wondered watching it what they would do if someone did draw on them. That would be the only way that I’d feel safe intervening personally.

  • pixie

    Yeah, unless the person walking by is highly trained in martial arts (or something similar), they really shouldn’t get physically involved in an altercation. The best thing to do is to call security (or a teacher, or the cops) so they don’t get hurt.

    Also, the “bystander”, if they get involved in trying to defend the victim, if and when security/a teacher/the police shows up THEY could get in trouble as well for being a part of a physical altercation.

    • Kay_Sue

      Typically, if you are somewhere that has self-defense laws, you’re safe though. Any use of force in defense of a third party that is being victimized is considered as legitimate a use of force as what you’d exercise in defense of your own person.

      I still wouldn’t personally intervene, because I am small-ish and I would have a (hopefully understood) fear for myself unless I was carrying.

    • pixie

      Oh yeah, I know about self defense laws (martial arts instructor was a jail guard and I know quite a few cops), but if security or whoever shows up while the defending is going on and it’s not going as planned, it’s up to security or whoever whether they believe you or not. If they don’t believe you, you’re screwed.

    • Kay_Sue

      True. Hopefully the victim would speak up in your defense or you could find yourself in hot water!

  • Coby

    Isn’t this a show on ABC, What Would You Do?

    I get that it’s supposed to arouse this Martin Niemöller-type feeling (“…and there was no one left to speak for me”), but this doesn’t seem like the method to inspire activism. It just seems to be saying, “Hey, look, you’re a total douchecanoe for not getting involved!” And who’s to say that the people who were being baited weren’t going to find someone like a police officer to assist? Like a number of the commenters said, self-preservation is fairly basic.

    • Gangle

      In an age of mobile phones you still have to physically get up and search for the police or security? You can’t even yell, as you are walking away, Ok, I am calling the cops. I am calling security? Nah, they were bailing out.

    • Sara

      On my campus we have a quite a few police officers and campus security walking around. It would be much faster for me to grab one of those guys or a bigger group of people than for meto wait for the police to show up.

    • Gangle

      Did ANY of those people on the film look to you like they were purposefully walking to find cops/security? Nope, they all just ambled along, head down in the direction they were going. A few stopped to gawk (if they were afraid, they wouldn’t be hanging around to gawk – would you?). If I felt that it was faster and safer to find help, I would run, not shuffle, to find help.

    • Lackadaisical

      I have seen kids messing around having pretend fights, thinking they look far more realistic than they are. In that case I hung about to make sure what appeared to be happening was what was happening, ready to intervene … well just yell very loudly and fetch my husband. It was apparent that the kid was in on it and they were mucking around, it isn’t an original game and when I yelled “oi” the kid on the floor got the giggles. If the people staging it weren’t as realistic in the flesh to witnesses as on video then passers by will just walk away. My local pranksters also pulled an obviously fake murder victim outside my house that led to a shaken motorist knocking on my door and asking me to look at a figure under a sheet with a (toy) knife (football, stuffed clothes, shoes sticking out) and then had to knock on my door to ask for the clothes back after I left a note on the spot to say where it was. These kids really thought their jokes to watch neighbour reactions were more realistic than they were and may have also thought less of anyone who ignored them because they saw through them.

    • SusannahJoy

      After some of the neighborhoods I’ve lived in, I would walk away to call the cops. I want to be NOWHERE near the violent, angry, potentially armed guys when cops show up.

  • Gangle

    Ok, I get why many people would not physically get involved with a potentially violent incident – I don’t think I would – but I also get the point they are trying to make. We live in an age of mobile telephones. I saw a similar experiment on domestic violence where, rather than a guy bullying another, it was a man bullying and threatening a girl in public. The number of people that just walked by while this guy was trying to drag a struggling, sobbing girl into the back of a car or behind a row of public toilets was disturbing. It may be too risky to confront someone like that personally, but it isn’t to shout ‘Stop! ma’am/kid are you ok? I am calling the cops/security right now! I have your licence number/description!’ I have done this before. It isn’t nice, but it isn’t hard.

    • Sara

      My thing is if the dude has no problem beating a kid up in public he probably won’t have a problem beating up the person who just announced they were calling the cops. So I would more likely quietly slide away and then call the cops or grab a security guard.

    • Gangle

      That is fair, if you feel that way. But in none of those videos did anyone look like they were hurrying in any direction reaching for their phone. They put their heads down and kept on walking/talking to their friends pretending they didn’t see it. The first guy didn’t even make a move out of the area and one guy even started filming it on his phone to slap on youtube… that guy in particular was hardly afraid, don’t ya think?

  • Tea

    I’m low vision and small, I’d be beelining for the first safe area to duck into and call security or the cops. Getting involved in this kind of thing without being prepared for it can be downright dangerous, for all parties. If I had my spouse with me (Big guy, and also another person) Then maybe, but not alone with no way of doing any real good besides plan A, which was call for help, preferably from a distance that is safe but enough to theoretically keep an eye or ear on the situation.

    • Gangle

      Yep, I wouldn’t necessarily involve myself in a potentially violent situation either and you are absolutely correct in saying that to do so if you know you aren’t confident that you could physically stand up to someone is dangerous for everyone. But I have shouted loudly and called the police when I witnessed something that wasn’t ok, right when everyone else on the street just put their heads down and kept walking, with absolutely no indication of pulling out a mobile phone or searching for assistance. Most of the examples above, the people witnessing didn’t seem to make any move for a mobile phone, or even to move out of the area so they could safely contact help. I would hope that if someone somewhere attacked me that someone would intervene, or if they felt that it wasn’t safe to do so, would at the very least care enough to make a phone call that could save my life instead of just ignoring it or walking away and pretending they didn’t see me.

  • Roberta

    In First Aid training, they hammer in a saying on what to check before entering a situation. “No wire, no fire, no drugs, no thugs”. Basically, make sure you are safe too, because the last thing we need it two people needing help. If you are willing to step in and put a stop to things then sure, go ahead. Just know that you need to keep yourself reasonably safe too.

    I know that bullying is different from a medical emergency, but the principle is the same. There is a risk you take when you enter a situation, and you have seconds to decide if it is worth dealing with it yourself or getting help.

    Also, what the guys in the video were doing was not subtle bullying. That was straight up assault. I would think twice before flinging myself on the assailant when they are attacking someone.