Speak Up, an original documentary from Cartoon Network, captures the authentic, everyday stories of America’s bullied kids and the youth who have helped them. The half-hour film is an extension of the network’s nationally recognized and award-winning pro-social initiative Stop Bullying: Speak Up, which seeks to empower all kids to take part in the growing movement to help bring an end to bullying. This moving, thoughtful and hopeful program consists of candid interviews with kids, mostly between the ages of 8 and 13 years old, who either are or have been the target of bullies, bystanders in a bullying situation or even bullies themselves. Demonstrating remarkable courage to speak openly and honestly about their own experiences, these brave youngsters offer empathy, strength and reassurance for all victims of bullying, as well as to bystanders, with a clear message that speaking up is the best way to bring about an end to bullying.
Speak Up will premiere commercial-free on Sunday, March 18 at 5:30 p.m. (ET/PT) with an 8 p.m. encore telecast. Before, during and immediately following the telecast, renowned bullying prevention expert and author Rosalind Wiseman will provide further explanation of key bullying issues for kids and adults, answering viewer questions online at www.StopBullyingSpeakUp.com. Speak Up also will be posted in its entirety on the website for ongoing viewing by students, parents, educators and community leaders. Further viewing of Speak Up across multiple digital platforms will be facilitated free of charge to customers through Comcast Xfinity, Facebook, iTunes, Xbox 360+Kinect and YouTube.com, each for at least two weeks following the world premiere.
Along with the documentary’s youth participants discussing the difficulties in approaching adults and getting them to understand their situation, Speak Up also offers hope and encouragement from the three young hosts of Cartoon Network’s Dude What Would Happen (CJ Manigo, Ali Sepasyar and Jackson Rogow); Chris Webber (Five-time NBA All-Star); Matt Wilhelm (Pro BMX champion); and NASCAR race car drivers including Trevor Bayne (2011 Daytona 500 winner), Jeff Burton and Joey Logano (the youngest NASCAR champion). Each appear in the film to share their experiences with bullying and to encourage kids in finding the best ways to reach out for help. They furthermore explain ways bystanders can be helpful to a victim, whether by gently asking if he/she is OK or by walking them to class.
“Our ongoing research and direct conversations with kids told us plainly that bullying was a major issue most kids believed they could do something about it if given the right tools for dealing with it,” said Stuart Snyder, president and chief operating officer for Cartoon Network. “This inspired us to create the ‘Stop Bullying: Speak Up” campaign nearly two years ago and we hope that Speak Up is a program that families will watch together.”