Would You Stand Up Against Bullying If You Had the Chance?


Just in time for Spirit Day, an anti-bullying effort, Burger King released footage from a fascinating hidden camera experiment.

Many websites and companies are going purple for Spirit Day, an effort to promote anti-bullying initiatives. The effort was started by GLAAD as a way to stand against bullying and in support of LGBTQ youth.

The statistics that led to the effort are disturbing; they should bother everyone. Consider just a couple of them:

  • 85.2% of LGBTQ students report being verbally harassed
  • 63.5% of LGBTQ students report hearing homophobic remarks from teachers and/or school staff because of their gender expression
  • 57.6% of LGBTQ students feel unsafe at school because of their sexual orientation

And if you believe the solution to any of these problems is for the kids to just “be straight,” you really don’t understand human sexuality as well as you think you do.

Burger King, of all places, came up with an interesting experiment on the subject of bullying just in time for the occasion. The results of the experiment ought to be just as disturbing as the stats above.

The video answers a very simple question:

Are we more concerned about our fellow man or our lunch?

The video shows real customers at a Los Angeles-area Burger King. They’re presented with two problems: a group of teens was bullying one of their peers and their sandwich was served mostly pulverized as if someone had punched it with their fist just before neatly wrapping it up.

Take a look at the video here:

Burger King’s take didn’t specifically target LGBT youth; instead, the video was about whether people would be more concerned about bullying of a high school junior or a Whopper Jr.

If you’re the type who’d immediately rush to the defense of a bullied teen while he was being bullied, you may have high hopes about those real-life customers who were just there to have a meal, not be some kind of impromptu hero.

If you’re the hopelessly optimistic type, you might guess that people would accept a damaged sandwich but wouldn’t accept, even for a moment, bullying.

But it’s time for an unfortunate reality check: A whopping (see what I did there?) 95% of customers — almost every one of them — complained about their “bullied” sandwich, while only 12% were willing to intervene on behalf of the bullying victim.

For most of us, I suppose, it’s not a surprise.

More’s the pity.

Have we truly become so self-centered that we’re more interested in a sandwich being served pristine while we are willing to ignore a human being just feet away from us being mistreated?

Are we too hesitant to get involved?
Are we too convinced that we can’t make a difference?
Are we too afraid to try?

I’d like to believe that if I had been one of those customers, I’d have stood up and said something. But if I’m honest, maybe I’d have been more ticked off about the sandwich myself.

Maybe I’d have spoken out about both.

But the video certainly raises that question for me. I hope it does for you as well.

If more of us took the time to weigh how we’d react, maybe there’d be a lot less bullying in the world.

It has to stop sometime.

The line has to be drawn.

Will you be part of drawing that line and ending it?

Patrick is a Christian with more than 29 years experience in professional writing, producing and marketing. His professional background also includes social media, reporting for broadcast television and the web, directing, videography and photography. He enjoys getting to know people over coffee and spending time with his dog.