Does having a celebrity speak out against bullying actually reduce bullying? Since when was it ever a good idea to follow the advice of somebody like Kristin Cavallari?
—A.D., via the inbox
Did you know Cavallari raked in about $90,000 per episode of The Hills—making her richer than most of us will ever be? Think about that the next time you think the morons on TV are morons in real life. (Only some of them are.)
But you ask about the Trevor Project's anti-bullying public service announcements that include Cavallari, Anne Hathaway, Neil Patrick Harris, Chris Colfer, Ellen DeGeneres and Tim Gunn, and the result has been ...
"The immediate effect isn't as notable, but the long-term effects will be huge for us," Trevor Project Executive Director Charles Robbins tells me. "People are finding out about the lifeline, and then, when they're more in a moment of crisis, they reach out to us."
In other words, kids nationwide are seeing the PSAs and filing the information away. Still, there is anecdotal evidence that celebrity faces make a difference in these circumstances.
"We're getting emails that come from youth who said that they saw the PSAs...and they are grateful that they exist," Robbins tells me. "Celebrities really are important. Youth are really drawn to celebrities and both in music and on television and film and when they hear that they are being supported, the lens changes for them."
Do we have the numbers to back up that claim? Can I get a hell yes?
"You have to realize that two-thirds of the calls that we get are from non-urban areas," Robbins explains. "These are people in rural towns across America. The only identification they get is through the Internet and through television. If you were to ask someone in an urban city it may not be as important. But for youth who don't have that kind of support, the celebrity element is vital."
I guess that even includes Kristin Cavallari.