The Project‘s Waleed Aly has enlisted stars of sport, film, music and social media to create an anti-bullying awareness video in memory of Northern Territory teenager Amy ‘Dolly’ Everett, who took her own life after enduring online bullying.
Big names like actress Margot Robbie, One Direction’s Liam Payne, singer Troye Sivan, fitness guru Kayla Itsines and rugby player Johnathan Thurston appear in the video, which Aly co-wrote with The Project‘s managing editor Tom Whitty.
In recognition of Friday’s National Day of Action Against Bullying and Violence, the clip debuted on the Thursday night episode of the Channel Ten show.
The video’s tagline is ‘Speak, even if your voice breaks,’ – words used in a sketch 14-year-old Dolly made in the days before her death – and it urges young Australians to reach out to adults and friends if they’re experiencing bullying.
Introducing the clip, Aly joked that he was not qualified to speak to young people about bullying because he’s the “out of touch guy on TV” who is “not even on social media”.
Instead, he said he decided to enlist “the people kids actually want to hear from”.
Speak, even if your voice shakes.
— The Project (@theprojecttv) March 15, 2018
The resulting video prompted Aly’s co-host Carrie Bickmore to burst into tears.
“We’ve got a whole audience full of school kids today and watching them all go ‘ahhhh’ when they saw those people with that message was incredibly powerful,” an emotional Bickmore said.
“Several of us are parents on this desk and when you’re a parent you know how terrifying the whole concept of bullying is and how helpless you feel,” Aly said.
“I just can’t get past the fact that that’s a conversation for us but that’s Dolly’s family’s life,” Bickmore added.
Aly was keen to express that the video had been made with the blessing of Dolly’s family, who are working on establishing a trust in her name to raise awareness about bullying, anxiety, depression and youth suicide.
“We’ve been in contact with Dolly’s family – we haven’t exploited that or anything like that – they have asked us for time before they speak again,” Aly said.
The video has received over 160,000 views on Twitter after singer Payne shared it with his 32.2 million followers.
— Liam (@LiamPayne) March 15, 2018
Dolly Everett, who was well known in Australia as the face of hat manufacturer Akubra, died on January 3 this year after being badly bullied on social media.
“I know for some suicide is considered cowardly but I guarantee those people wouldn’t have half the strength that my precious little angel had,” her father, Tick Everett, wrote in a Facebook post.
“Unfortunately Dolly will never know the great pain and emptiness left behind.
“If by some chance the people who thought this was a joke and made themselves feel superior by the constant bullying and harassment see this post, please come to our service and witness the complete devastation you have created.
“The second is for the strong ones, lets stop the bullies no matter where, but especially in our kids, as the old saying goes. You will never know what have until it’s gone.”
For 24/7 crisis support and suicide prevention services, please call:
- Lifeline on 13 11 14 or visit lifeline.org.au.
- Kids Helpline on 1800 55 1800 or at http://kidshelpline.com.au
- Beyond Blue 1300 224 636