Anderson Cooper Joins Slew of Stars Sticking Up for Gay Teens

Anderson Cooper slammed Vince Vaughn on "The Ellen Degeneres Show."

October 8, 2010, 10:44 AM

Oct. 8, 2010 — -- Anderson Cooper's jumping into the fight to stop teen bullying, and he's found a foe in Vince Vaughn.

The CNN anchor visited "The Ellen Degeneres Show" this week to condemn teen bullying. A particular point of contention: Vaughn's upcoming movie "The Dilemma," in which his character proclaims, "Ladies and gentleman, electric cars are gay." A trailer for "The Dilemma" featuring that line is currently playing in theaters.

"There was a preview of a movie, and in it, the actor said, 'That's so gay,' and I was shocked that not only that they put it in the movie, but that they put that in the preview," Cooper said. "They thought that it was OK to put that in a preview for the movie to get people to go and see it."

"I just find those words, those terms, we've got to do something to make those words unacceptable cause those words are hurting kids," Cooper continued. "Someone else I talked to recently said that the words people use and the things people say about other kids online, it enters into their internal dialogue. And when you're a kid, it can change the way you see yourself and the way you think about yourself, and the worth that you give to yourself. I think we need to really focus on what language we're using and how we're treating these kids."

Universal, the studio putting out "The Dilemma," heard Cooper loud and clear. Today, Universal confirmed to GLAAD (The Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation) that they will remove the "gay" scene from the movie's trailer.

Cooper's not alone -- Hollywood loves a good cause. From dolphins to disasters of the natural kind, celebrities are, more often than not, quick to latch on to a crisis.

The latest one is particularly tragic. In September at least five teenage boys committed suicide after being tormented for being gay -- most recently Rutgers University freshman Tyler Clementi. Now, actors, musicians, comedians and celebrity personalities are making moves to stop teen bullying.

Kathy Griffin is donating all proceeds of her Dec. 16 comedy show at Los Angeles' Gibson Universal Amphitheatre to The Trevor Project, an organization focused on suicide prevention among LGBT youth. Advice columnist Dan Savage created the "It Gets Better" Project, in which people can upload videos to YouTube offering support and hope to LGBT teenagers. Gossip blogger Perez Hilton joined Savage's effort and is urging celebrities to jump on the bandwagon as well.

"I lost about 200,000 followers on Twitter because I was tweeting these celebrities to ask them to make videos," Hilton told "I don't regret it. I'd do it again. I'm happy I lost 200,000 followers on Twitter because I was able to get a lot of celebrities to make videos."

Among them: Tim Gunn, Sarah Silverman, Ashley Tisdale, Jewel and Eve. The list keeps growing. Hilton said he talked with "Glee" creator Ryan Murphy about having the cast of the Fox hit show make a video and working an anti-bullying theme into "Glee's" storyline.

Having once been a closeted gay teen in an all-boys high school, Hilton said he's wholeheartedly committed to this cause.

"What's really powerful is to admit and acknowledge that we've all been bullies," he said. "I've been a bully, I can still be a bully on my website. The point is to not be a bully to the point where someone is going to want to kill themselves -- threatening violence, calling them homophobic names repeatedly. I'm not asking anyone to be perfect. I'm not perfect. I just want people to engage in this conversation."

Droves of stars are speaking out about their own experiences being bullied and what teens and adults can do about bullying. Take a look at ten more of the anti-bullying movement's loudest celebrity advocates:

Kathy Griffin

"I think that the way that we had trickle-down economics in the '80s, this is trickle-down homophobia. And I really want people to connect the dots. And that's why I believe there's a connection between Prop 8, 'don't ask, don't tell,' and now the string of teen suicides. It's almost sanctioned to bully gay people and treat them as second-class citizens. And I get very nervous when the parents of these so-called bullies defend them, saying, 'Oh, kids will be kids,' when you find out that the teen suicide rate is four times higher for a gay person."

"I've been bullied. And you know what hurts? The collusion. I remember one time I was getting my butt kicked in a park when I was a little kid. And I'll never forget a guy walking by with a briefcase, just walking by. And I feel like at this time we can't be that guy anymore. We can't walk by anymore." -- "Larry King Live," Oct. 4.

Tim Gunn

"[The bullying] was serious enough and I felt desperate enough that I wanted to end my own life. And I'm very lucky that my suicide attempt was not successful ... I fundamentally don't understand it. I've never been a bully. And it's largely because ... I was always the object of bullying. And it was just a horrible way to grow up, and to live in fear of going into a playground behind the school or walking home from school. It's an awful way to live every day." -- "Larry King Live," Oct. 4.

Chris Colfer

"I know what it's like to be bullied and teased every single day. And I know that it may seem like there is no chance at happiness left. But I promise you there is a world full of acceptance and love just waiting for you to find it." -- YouTube video uploaded Oct. 4.

Sarah Silverman

"Dear America, when you tell gay Americans they can't serve their country openly or marry the person that they love, you're telling that to kids too, so don't be f**king shocked and wonder where all these bullies are coming from that are torturing young kids and driving them to kill themselves because they're different -- they learned it from watching you." -- YouTube video uploaded Oct. 4.

Neil Patrick Harris

"For the love of Pete, there's no need to harm yourself if something is going bad. You can act with strength, you can act with courage, you can act with class. Stand tall, be proud of who you are. This is a good time that we live in, and we're being granted more and more rights. And that's awesome, and it will continue in that direction. Yeah – be proud." -- MTV Public Service Announcement posted Oct. 1.

Lance Bass

"When you're 13, 14, you just go along with what the other people are doing. You just want to fit in. You want to make sure that your friends like you. So yeah, you're going to crack jokes, you're going to laugh along with it. And when you're a teenager, you're not really thinking, 'Oh, I'm being a bully by laughing along with it.' ... I think that's the main reason people do bully, is to look cool in front of your friends. But you've just got to realize you're not being cool at all. I mean, it's the stupidest thing to do." -- "Larry King Live," Oct. 4.

Margaret Cho

"When I was a teenager, I was bullied a lot, and I felt very insecure and very scared, and I didn't want to live. And I just want to reach out to these kids and make sure that they stay with us." -- People magazine, Oct. 5.

Wanda Sykes

"When society as a whole has basically told the kids that 'It's okay,' that 'We're a group that you can pick on, that you that don't have to treat as equal,' I mean, we see that in, you know, in the laws and everything else that's out here, in the churches that they preach that homophobia is wrong. You pretty much have given kids permission to disrespect and, you know, and to cause harm to the gay and lesbian community. -- "Larry King Live," Oct. 4.

Ellen Degeneres

"Being a teenager and figuring out who you are is hard enough without someone attacking you. My heart is breaking for their families, for their friends and for our society that continues to let this happen. These kids needed us. And we have an obligation to change this. There are messages everywhere that validate this kind of bullying and taunting. And we have to make it stop. We can't let intolerance and ignorance take another kid's life."

Hollywood Stands Up for Gay Bullying Victims

"And I want anyone out there who feels different and alone to know that I know how you feel. And there is help out there. And you can find support in your community. If you need someone to talk to, or if you want to get involved, there are some really great organizations listed on our website. Things will get easier. People's minds will change. And you should -- you should be alive to see it. " -- "The Ellen DeGeneres Show," Sept. 30.

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