TNA Wrestling launches anti-hate campaign

Total Nonstop Action wrestling has launched an anti-hate campaign aimed to stop bullying of youth. The issue has garnered national attention in recent weeks with the suicides of various bullied gay youth. They're putting some of their biggest stars and TV time behind the campaign, marking a true commitment to the effort.

While so many other campaigns preach to the converted, TNA's effort can have a real impact. Much of their audience is straight young men addicted to the uber-macho culture that breeds so much bullying; Leveraging their stars' voices and TV time can have an effect on the audience we truly need to reach. You can find more information about the campaign in TNA's press release, plus see a message wrestler Jeff Hardy taped for CBS' The Talk, after the jump.

November 1, 2010 (Nashville, Tenn.) – Total Nonstop Action (TNA) Wrestling wants to put a headlock on bullying, an epidemic that has gripped the U.S. for decades, but has recently gained national attention this fall with its link to a number of teen suicides.

TNA officials today announced TNA’s “Eliminate the Hate” campaign, aimed at ending bullying of all kinds.

TNA Wrestling is implementing a massive marketing effort for their “Eliminate the Hate” campaign. PSAs will be featured on TNA programming, including its Thursday night line-up on Spike (TNA iMPACT! and ReAction/ 9pm-12am ET). In addition, spots will be placed on all other TNA Wrestling platforms, including their website, DVDs and all social networking sites including Facebook® and Twitter®.

TNA is also working closely with the hit Sirius XM® primetime show, Derek & Romaine, as well as other Sirius XM® programs, and with broadcast partner Spike, who will air the PSAs across their network.

There are several TNA Wrestling superstars who know all too well about the childhood trials and tribulations of being bullied because they once were on the receiving end of unwanted, unprovoked, persistent taunts from bullies.

TNA’s Mr. Anderson, for instance, was bullied as a teen growing up in Two Rivers, Wis., and Fortune member Kazarian was well aware of bullying taunts as a youngster growing up in Southern California. “The Pope” D’Angelo Dinero [right] was bullied while growing up in Jacksonville, Fla., but turned the tables in high school – and protected those who were being bullied.

“Sadly, bullying is a national problem, and it crosses into all races, religions and every socioeconomic status,” Anderson said. He added a personal note, "Growing up, I was bullied until I was a freshman in high school because I didn't conform to a group or play sports. I was open that I liked video gaming and comic books and got picked on for that. I eventually took Tae Kwon Do and Eskrima lessons because the bullying was relentless and I thought it would come to a fight. But when the bullies heard I was taking martial arts classes, they backed off.”

“Everyone at TNA stands firmly behind this new anti-bullying campaign. The bullying must stop, and we want to take a stand,” said TNA Chief Marketing Officer Al Ovadia, himself a father of two. “There’s no place in our schools for bullying, be it based on a student’s looks, race, sexual orientation or anything else.”

TNA launched its “Eliminate The Hate” campaign this week in conjunction with Jeff Hardy’s appearance on The Talk (CBS-TV) when Hardy appeared in support of a bullied teen. Hardy, the reigning TNA World Heavyweight Champion, personally invited Tyler Wilson, 11, to Orlando, Fla., for a taping of “TNA iMPACT!” on Spike TV (Thursday, 9 p.m. ET), including a backstage meet-and-greet with other TNA Superstars.

“I’m happy to support Tyler and anyone who has been bullied, and I know I can say that all of the other wrestlers on the TNA roster agree with me on this stance: the bullying needs to stop, now,” Hardy said. “I guarantee Tyler will have an amazing time in Orlando and know he will be the envy of his class after his trip.”

One of the largest studies ever on bullying, the Ethics of American Youth Survey by the Josephson Institute of Ethics, finds 50 percent of those surveyed said they had “bullied, teased or taunted someone at least once,” and 47 percent had been “bullied, teased or taunted in a way that seriously upset me at least once.” The study, from the non-profit based in Los Angeles, surveyed 43,321 teens ages 15 to 18, from 78 public and 22 private schools.

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