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Bullying To Take Spotlight At Comic-Con

Chase Masterson, Jane Espenson among those hosting panel


It might be easy to look at Chase Masterson and ask what someone as beautiful and talented as she is knows about bullying.

But the fact is, bullying affects people from all walks of life, no matter what they look like, what they are able to do, or even how popular they are. People can be targeted for many different reasons, which creates unnecessary pain and anguish — and sadly, sometimes, suicide.

Masterson, who played Leeta in “Star Trek: Deep Space Nine,” and has enjoyed success on the independent film circuit since, has brought together a number of international organizations and companies in an effort to wipe bullying off the planet. And she’s bringing that work to this year’s San Diego Comic-Con.

“The anti-bullying issue is coming of age,” Masterson said in a release. “Everyone can relate to it, and especially with the rash of recent teenage suicides, it’s time for it to stop. We’re uniting pop culture’s favorite stars and media to make a stand along with these top organizations.”

The list of those joining Masterson in her cause include in the United Nations Association, the Anti-Defamation League, the NoH8 campaign, Cartoon Network’s Stop Bullying: Speak Up, Girls Scouts of America, the International Bullying Prevention Association, and the Gay, Lesbian, Straight Education Network.

Masterson is joined in these efforts by Carrie Goldman, the author of the 2012 book “Bullied: What Every Parent, Teacher and Kid Needs to Know About Ending the Cycle of Fear.”

“In our digitalized, media-driven society, pop culture has a constant influence on the way that both children and adults interpret the world,” Goldman said. “When kids see celebrities take action against bullying, it resonates strongly and sends the message that cruelty is not acceptable.”

The first-ever anti-bullying red carpet and summit will take place Sunday during Comic-Con beginning at 4 p.m. in Room 4. Masterson and Goldman will be joined on the panel by NoH8 founders Adam Bouska and Jeff Parshley, “Once Upon a Time” writer and overall iconic scribe Jane Espenson, “Husbands” star Brad Bell, author Bonnie Burton, journalist Jenna Busch, and “Star Wars: The Clone Wars” actress Ashley Eckstein.

Topics will include geek bullying, bullying of those who are gay or suspected of being gay and cyber-bullying. The panel will also analyze how media and entertainment affect our attitudes toward bullying and aggression.

“The truth is, bullying is not only an issue for the schools and the home,” said Tammy Gillies, regional director of the San Diego Anti-Defamation League, in a release. “The impact of bullying is one that carries over beyond the school years and affects the behavior of adults and the entire society. It takes a whole community to allow bullying to go on, and it takes a whole community to make sure that it doesn’t.”

For more information on the panel and its Comic-Con activities, visit the coalition’s website at www.antibullyingcoalition.com.

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