The official word: Today at the White House Conference on Bullying Prevention, MTV announced it will premiere an original TV movie based on the tragic, true-life story of Abraham Biggs. The film is part of MTV’s multi-year “A THIN LINE” campaign, which empowers America’s youth to draw their own line between digital use and digital abuse. Additionally, the network today announced that it has assembled a new coalition to address discrimination-based bullying online.
"As the White House spotlights bullying today, we're proud to announce two new ways we're furthering our efforts to stop an issue that touches virtually every young person," said Stephen Friedman, General Manager of MTV. "We hope that by bringing Abraham Biggs' heartbreaking story to our audience, we can raise consciousness to fight digital abuse. To help in this mission, we formed a diverse coalition of civil rights leaders that will bring a new dimension to our 'A THIN LINE' campaign, aiming to end digital discrimination."
Yet to be titled, this new MTV original movie will tell the story of four teens whose lives unexpectedly collide online. Although they have never met before, they have an extraordinary impact on one another, culminating in one night none of them could have imagined. The film is inspired by the true, tragic tale of Abraham Biggs – a 19-year-old who battled bipolar disorder and ultimately webcast his suicide after being egged on by a digital mob. Vividly illustrating how growing up digital complicates life and love, the movie serves as a powerful call to action to help end digital abuse by showing what can happen when we forget there’s someone on the other side of the screen. The film will premiere on MTV channels around the world (premiere date to be announced).
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“We’re happy MTV is sharing Abraham’s story with the world,” said Doreen Biggs, Abraham Biggs’ mother. “We hope that young people realize just how powerful the internet can be, and that this film drives them to take action to put an end to cyberbullying so no family ever has to go through something like this again.”
To date, MTV’s “A THIN LINE” campaign has touched tens of millions and mobilized nearly 1 million young Americans to take action and help end digital abuse. Starting today, MTV is joining forces with the NAACP, the National Council of La Raza, the Anti-Defamation League, the Council on American-Islamic Relations, GLAAD, The Trevor Project and the Asian American Justice Center to fight bullying and intolerance online. Built on the principle that no one should ever be bullied for who they are, this new anti-digital discrimination coalition will band together to develop innovative ways to illuminate the “thin line” between free speech and hate speech.
Additionally, MTV is rolling out a series of new cyberbullying and digital discrimination PSAs on-air and online today, which encourage bystanders to support their friends, connect victims of digital abuse to resources, and drive home the serious impact digital words can have in real life.
With 50 percent of 14 – 24 year olds in a MTV-Associated Press study stating they have been the target of some form of digital abuse, MTV’s “A THIN LINE” campaign empowers America’s youth to identify, respond to, and stop the spread of digital abuse, which includes all forms of digital bullying, dating abuse and discrimination. As part of the campaign, MTV is addressing these issues through thought-provoking PSAs, integration into MTV's top-rated shows, innovative online and mobile tools, and curricula.
The MTV original movie, which is yet to be titled, is directed by Leslie Libman, executive produced by Maggie Malina and Leslie Libman, and produced by Fern Martin. Chris Linn is Executive Producer for MTV.
For more information on MTV’s “A THIN LINE” campaign, head to www.ATHINLINE.org.