MIAMI (CBSMiami) – The superstars of World Wrestling Entertainment showed a softer side Thursday while spreading an important anti-bullying message.
Some of the wrestling stars shared their personal memories of being victims of bullying. The event comes as a controversial bullying documentary undergoes some changes as it hits movie theaters.
The WWE stars and even an American Idol standout spoke to kids at Hialeah Gardens Middle School as part of their international anti-bullying campaign, “Be A Star.” Many of the youngsters were surprised to learn that even wrestling superstars were bullied when they were kids.
“I didn’t have muscles, I didn’t always look this good…I had real thick glasses too and I was a little bit chubby, and I used to get picked on a lot,” recalled WWE star David Otunga.
He said he overcame the bully attacks by telling a trusted teacher about it. So did WWE Diva Alicia Fox who was tormented by a boy in sixth grade.
“As punishment, he had to pick me up from class every day, hold my bags and walk me to the bus,” she said while smiling.
The messages resonated with 8th grader Jamie Chen who says she’s been bullied.
“A bunch of people come up to you and be like ‘oh you’re such a nerd’ or ‘oh you’re not wearing the right shoes, you’re not cool,'” said Chen.
When Chen heard American Idol contestant James Durbin describe the bullying he endured in school, she knew she wasn’t alone.
“I almost started crying and got teary-eyed. To see him go through that and now become an American Idol star, it was really touching.”
The damage bullying can cause is the focus of the new film, “Bully”. It profiles five victims, two of which committed suicide.
The profanity in the movie originally gave it an R rating, which would prevent young people from seeing it. Now the filmmakers are releasing the movie without a rating. AMC theaters will let minors watch it with a parental permission slip.
“Bully” opens in select theaters across the country Friday.