In recent weeks, after a spate of suicides by gay teens grappling with peer harassment issues, everyone from Justin Bieber to the president has spoken out on the topic of bullying.
“All of us have an obligation to think about how we’re treating other people. What we may think is funny or cute may end up being powerfully hurtful,” President Obama said at MTV’s forum last month .
To that growing chorus of high-profile voices, add Jim Carrey. The 48-year-old funnyman stars in the long-delayed “I Love You Phillip Morris” — the true story of a man who comes out of the closet and finds his soul mate while in prison — and spoke eloquently about the importance of accepting and celebrating our differences during a recent chat with MTV News.
“This is a horrible thing to be bullied, and to feel like an outcast is a terrible thing,” Carrey told us. “It’s just so an old thing, an old antiquated way of thinking that you can’t have anymore. It doesn’t belong in the new paradigm.
“Every time you look at somebody and think, ‘I don’t like that about that person,’ you just got to know that’s about you,” he added. “Anybody who bullies anybody for any reason is no friend of mine. Frankly, I can’t imagine hitting a human being for any reason except self-preservation, if I was attacked. Your sensibilities are different when you’re a school kid and there’s gang mentality, but it ain’t cool.”
Carrey confessed he often felt like an outsider while growing up, but found “little tricks” to make himself popular. Now an A-list actor working in Hollywood, he’s found himself collaborating with movie industry insiders, some of whom are gays and lesbians — a situation that many bullying teens will also experience in the future. For that reason, at the very least, Carrey said teens would be wise to treat everyone with respect, regardless of any perceived differences.
“Some of the most valuable people in my life are gay,” he said. “People that bring magical, amazing gifts and contributions to my life. I would say to kids out there when they’re engaging in these kinds of isolations of people, someday you’re going to want those people in your life. You’re going to need those people in your life, and you’re not going to want that on your conscience.”
“I Love You Phillip Morris” is due to hit theaters on December 3.
Check out everything we’ve got on “I Love You Phillip Morris.”
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