B.C. poet’s ‘pork chop’ anti-bullying video goes viral, warms hearts
CTV British Columbia
Published Friday, February 22, 2013 10:30AM PST
Last Updated Friday, February 22, 2013 9:21PM PST
A powerful and deeply personal anti-bullying video by a noted B.C. poet has taken the internet by storm, with more than two million hits in the two days since it was posted.
In the seven minute video, part of the anti-bullying campaigner’s “To This Day Project,” spoken word artist Shane Koyczan tells the story of his own experience being bullied in school, and how he went on to become a bully himself.
You may remember Koyczan from his performance at the opening ceremonies for the 2010 Olympic Winter Games, where he read his poem “We Are More.”
Koyczan said the video, which he collaborated on with a group of talented animators, is a jumping off point to address an issue he feels connected to.
The video, which chronicles the name-calling and humiliation victims suffer through a series of animations, starts off with the image of a pork chop: Koyczan was called pork chop “and much worse” by his peers.
“I think for a lot of people name calling is the way that bullying starts,” he told CTV’s Canada AM.
“It seems like something cute, it seems like something harmless, but I’m amazed at how much it stayed with me in my life and how it affects me now.”
Koyzan said the experience of being bullied hardened him. After moving from the Yukon to Penticton, B.C., in Grade 8, he hoped to escape the taunts, but the cycle continued.
“I was at a point in my life where I couldn’t do four more years of being bullied and I finally just lashed out,” he said.
The artist says the pattern stopped when a school counselor called his grandparents into the school to tell them that the teenager was bullying other students.
“She said very frankly ‘your grandson is a bully.’ And just to see the look on my grandmother’s face was very difficult for me,” he said.
Koyzan received submissions from thousands of artists from around the globe who wanted to take part in the project.
He hopes people will watch the video and share it, so that the message will have a far reaching and long lasting effect in confronting the issue of bullying.
It seems that people are hearing the message.
Writer Dan Savage told Koyczan that his poem had him crying into his salad at the O'Hare airport.