The video: In a raw, "heart-wrenching" YouTube clip, middle-schooler Jonah Mowry tells how he's suffered homophobic bullying for years. Mowry doesn't speak in the four-and-a-half minute video. Instead, he holds up a series of notecards that detail his disturbing story: He says he's been bullied every day since the first grade, started cutting himself in the second grade, and has often considered suicide. He's been called "gay," "fag," "dick," "douche," "homo" and "asshole"… "the list goes on and on." The video, originally posted in August, but only now gaining widespread attention, captures a "scared" Mowry on the verge of entering eighth grade. He grows increasingly emotional as the video progresses, wiping away tears, while Sia's "Breathe Me" plays in the background. (Watch the clip below.) "I'm not going anywhere, because I'm stronger than that," his final cards read. "I have a million reasons to be here."
The reaction: This "an incredible, heartbreaking, honest look into the heart of a young boy who has endured too much pain and torment at the hands of bullies in our intolerant society," says Lily Shavick at She Wired. It's "hard to watch" at times, but it ends with a "powerful message." Yes, his final card is "inspirational," says Bri Taylor at Gather. Indeed, this is "one of the bravest boys I've never met," says Matt Cherette at Gawker. He "has endured a lifetime of pain and suffering at the hands of bullies," but he's had the strength to remember that life is still worth living. "Unfortunately, the same cannot be said about thousands of other bullied teens for whom suicide was the answer." See for yourself:
THE WEEK'S AUDIOPHILE PODCASTS: LISTEN SMARTER
- America created the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria? Meet the ISIS 'truthers'
- The Obama era is over. The presidency continues.
- What would a U.S.-Russia war look like?
- What is Molly? Everything you need to know about the party drug
- How American businessmen are ruining American business — and the U.S. economy
- How Harry Houdini escaped death
- Why you should stop believing in evolution
- 7 grammar rules you really should pay attention to
- On ISIS, neocons and liberal hawks have a 'boy who cried wolf' problem
- Russia's giant spy ship was a high-tech disaster waiting to happen
Subscribe to the Week