San Diego, CA, July 14, 2015 – We all have a new reason to love John Barrowman. It takes somebody special to stand up, speak for, and empower those less powerful or less fortunate. This past weekend at San Diego Comic-Con, John Barrowman, star of Arrow and Torchwood, shared his powerful, painful and sometimes hilarious story of overcoming bullying, as part of the Pop Culture Hero Coalition’s panel. Even CBS Network News was there this time, and joined a packed room of fans and entertainment industry luminaries as Barrowman and NOH8 Campaign Founders Adam Bouska & Jeff Parshley joined the United Nations Association President Bettina Hausmann, Impractical Joker’s Joe Gatto, and Entertainment Weekly Senior Writer Anthony Breznican.
Created by actress Chase Masterson (Star Trek, The Flash) with heroism experts Carrie Goldman (Harper Collins’ Bullied) and Matt Langdon (Founder, The Hero Construction Company), the unprecedented coalition is the first organization to make a stand against bullying, racism, LGBT- bullying, cyber-bullying, misogyny and other forms of hate at comic-cons. The panel, End Bullying! Responding to Cruelty in Our Culture was the Coalition’s eighth convention appearance since it was founded in 2013.
“When pop culture icons make a stand based on their own hard experiences, it sends a powerful message to people who have been bullied or oppressed,” Masterson stated. “We’ve been where you are, or somewhere close. You can get through this. You can heal. And you can be there for other people. That victory spreads like wildfire. And that’s heroism, in real life.”
With a mix of profound vulnerability and hilarious story-telling, Barrowman recounted his growing up experiences: “I was called fag, queer, and everything else.” He recalled being severely bullied, beat up and stuffed in his locker by a kid at school. Barrowman recalls, “I got all my friends around me, and I confronted this kid. And I said, ‘You can hit me, you can push me, you can bully me, you can do everything you want. You can punch me in my face. But you know what? I will get back up. I will always stand back up.’”
Getting back up indeed. Olivier Award-Nominated Barrowman was highly instrumental in the laws of Britain being passed for Marriage Equality. His work with British government led to him being named a Member of the Order of the British Empire, an honor bestowed by Queen Elizabeth II. (We’ll confess here, we knew that the British government had recently passed these laws, but we did not realize Barrowman had played such a large role in them.)
“The feedback we received after the panel was overwhelmingly positive,” said Langdon. “It was great hearing how important the message was to people.” Langdon is an world-renowned heroism expert and speaker who heads the Hero Roundtable, an international conference on everyday and extraordinary heroism. Breznican, author of the highly acclaimed novel Brutal Youth, states, “There’s no other panel at Comic-Con I’d rather be a part of! (Well, except Star Wars. I would love to be IN Star Wars.) But other than that, I’m beyond proud to be a part of the Pop Culture Hero Coalition and the good work and positivity they create in a world that’s not so far, far away.”
“I’m very happy with the turn out to the Pop Culture Hero Coalition panel,” enthused Gatto. “There were meaningful words of encouragement and understanding spoken from a diverse and caring panel of professionals, all with unique takes on the issue of bullying. And these faces in the crowd stared back as if to say ‘thank you for understanding.’ It felt great to do some good.”
“Heroism IRL is something we can all do, every day,” stated Masterson. “We love superheroes. Why not be one?”
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