In anticipation of tonight's documentary, "The Bully Effect," we've heard from many of you on Facebook and Twitter and AC360.com. There's a clear common thread from people representing different age groups, ethnicities, locations, and background: we must take action to prevent children from suffering at the hands of bullies.
As Anderson Cooper wrote in an op-ed today, empathy and understanding are the weapons we need to give kids to combat destructive behavior. Bystanders need to stand up for those who cannot stand up for themselves. Every child deserves to go to school and grow up in a safe environment, free from threats and harassment.
Editor's note: Don't miss the premiere of "The Bully Effect" on AC360° at 10 p.m. ET tonight. The documentary airs again on March 3 and March 9 at 8 p.m. ET.
A red-faced Gordon Ramsay gets nose-to-nose with an older man and shouts, "Wake up!" He calls another chef's food "rotten." He reduces a middle-aged woman to hysterical tears. And all that's just in the opening credits of "Kitchen Nightmares."
For the next hour of the British culinary icon's popular reality TV series, there is little in the way of praise or pats on the back for the chefs he's coaching. Instead, he swears. He throws food. He calls people "stupid" and "disgusting pigs." His entire performance is based on sharp criticism and what some may argue is bullying-type behavior. Viewers eat it up.
Nightmarish behavior is the stuff reality TV shows are made of. Ramsay is certainly not alone. Tami Roman on VH1's "Basketball Wives" calls her friends "bitches" and physically attacks one of them in front of a fancy Miami restaurant. A study of the U.K.'s version of "The Apprentice" found it depicted 85 aggressive acts an hour. "American Idol" showed 57 aggressive acts an hour.
Programming note: Watch the new AC360° documentary "The Bully Effect" at 10 p.m. ET tonight on CNN, and on March 3 and 9 at 8 p.m. ET.
In the last few years, awareness about bullying has increased dramatically. While some adults may still think bullying is just a youthful rite of passage, more and more parents, educators and kids understand that bullying today is worse than in previous generations.
It doesn't stop at the school yard or even a child's front door. Access to the Internet and social media websites mean kids can be bullied and tormented around the clock, even in the supposed safety of their own homes. The cruelty that can come with the strike of a button on a keyboard can hurt just as much as any punch or push in a playground.
We've produced a documentary called "The Bully Effect" which follows the stories of a number of people filmmaker Lee Hirsch introduced audiences to in his remarkable 2012 film "Bully." These are kids and parents who have taken their pain, their suffering, their grief and turned it into action. They are truly inspiring.
David Gergen, Margaret Hoover and Charles Blow argue who's responsible for forced spending cuts taking effect March 1.
Anderson Cooper, Nancy Grace, Mark Geragos and Jeffrey Toobin discuss the prosecutor's strategy in the Jodi Arias trial.
Neil Heslin testified at a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on the proposed assault weapons ban Wednesday. His son Jesse was murdered in the Sandy Hook school shooting along with 19 other children. Anderson Cooper spoke with Mr. Heslin about his loss and the gun law changes he believes will make school safer.
"I just feel that it's something I have to do...I feel there's got to be changes made," Heslin said about his decision to speak to lawmakers. Despite the difficulty of being exposed to the political tension over gun control during a time of mourning, he believes he would be letting his son down if he didn't testify.
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