Anti-bullying group wants MTV Canada's Bully Beatdown banned
A national anti-bullying group wants MTV Canada's new show Bully Beatdown banned from the air for sending the wrong message to bullies and their victims.
The show, premiering on Tuesday night, is hosted by Jason (Mayhem) Miller, a mixed martial arts fighter. The show offers the chance for victims of bullying to see their antagonists tossed around by a professional fighter.
The bullies are thrown in a ring with trained mixed martial artists for a chance to win $10,000.
If they lose, they hand the cash over to the those they've bullied.
Robert Frenette, 19, a Bathurst resident who is one of the founders of BullyingCanada.ca, said the program sends the wrong message to bullies and their victims.
"As someone who was bullied, I don't think that would be a way to get back at them," Frenette said.
"They need more positive messages and making sure that they have prevention as well. So I think it's something that they need to prevent and really need to re-evaluate."
Katie Neu, the co-founder of BullyingCanada.ca, said they are writing to MTV and their MPs with their concerns about the show.
"It's just something that's totally disgusting and we don't understand why they would put such insanity on the television for people to watch, and it's just giving society a bad message," Neu said.
MTV Canada defends program
But Brad Schwartz, the senior vice-president and general manager of MTV Canada, is defending Bully Beatdown.
"I think it's empowering. I think it shows that you don't have to deal with issues like bullying alone," Schwartz said.
"And this is a show that says, 'Hey, there are other people out there that are victims of bullying and that there are other people out there going through the same thing.'"
Schwartz said he disagrees with Bullying Canada's stance on the show, and he said he'd be happy to have them on MTV live to discuss it.
The show is aimed at males and females aged 12 to 34 and a similar version has already aired in the United States.
MTV's research after the program aired in the United States indicated that it is the "pulse of what people want."
Schwartz said the program is a "catalyst for conversation," and noted in the United States it had a "really nice ratings success," tripling what the show in the same time slot got the previous year.
According to the show's website, Miller will ambush the bully in front of others and challenge them to a fight or "look like a coward."
The site says it gives the victims the "satisfaction of seeing their bully face someone who can make him suffer for his past actions."
The fight lasts two rounds, each three minutes long. The bully starts with $5,000 and loses $1,000 every time he "taps out" as Miller performs MMA grappling and submission holds. If the bully actually can force Miller to submit he gets $5,000.
The second round sees if the bully can last through three minutes of kickboxing without getting knocked out. The bully will lose the $5,000 if he quits, gets knocked out or the referee calls the fight.
All the money deducted from the bully in either round will go to the victim.