Former child star Jonathan Lipnicki has spoken out about how he struggled with being bullied as a child.
The actor, who rose to fame as a child with roles in Jerry Maguire and The Little Vampire, revealed that he was targeted with “gay slurs” on almost a daily basis while he was growing up, to the point where he was “made to feel like garbage”.
In a touching post made on his official Instagram account, Jonathan, 26, – who’s transformed himself since stepping out of the public eye – spoke about his life-long battle with anxiety as a result of being systematically bullied by his peers.
“As a kid/teen I was made fun of relentlessly by some people who are now even my friends on FB,” said the star. “I was told I was a has-been and would never book a job again.”
“I was made to feel like garbage every day of middle school to the point where I had a manic attack every night, because I wondered how I wondered how I would get through the next day.”
In a follow-up interview, the actor, who’s taken up an interest in martial arts since stepping back from his acting career, insisted that he no longer sees himself as a victim, and urged others to stand up for themselves.
Im sharing a little of my experience. It gives me anxiety being this open, but being bullied is a universal problem. I am not a victim, but rather empowered because I was able to turn to my art. I am grateful for the amazing life I have and I hope I can pass on that it DOES get better. As much as it is easier said than done, overcoming being bullied is a reality and I hope this resonates with all of you
“I’m here to help others by sharing my experience. I’m not a victim, I’m a survivor and kids will hopefully see that they can be too. I felt like I didn’t know how my life was going to end up,” Lipnicki told TooFab. “It was the lowest point of my life.”
“I didn’t go a day without going home and being upset. I didn’t go a day without being called some form of gay slur, or a hateful slur pretty much every day of middle school. It gives me anxiety being this open, but being bullied is a universal problem.
He defiantly added: “I am not a victim, but rather empowered because I was able to turn to my art.”