Glee suicide episode leads to more reaching out to The Trevor Project

Cast members talk to Gay Star News about episode's impact

Glee suicide episode leads to more reaching out to The Trevor Project
29 February 2012

Last week's winter finale of Glee tackled the subject of gay teen suicide when a closeted football player is outed then bullied and tries to kill himself.

The character of Dave Karofsky (played by Max Adler) is a former bully himself who channeled his own self-loathing by tormenting one of the school's most openly gay students, Kurt Hummel (Chris Colfer). It is Kurt who is there for Karofsky and when he visits his former bully in the hospital, helps him imagine his future.

The episode was followed by a Public Service Announcement for The Trevor Project, a US organization that works to prevent suicide among lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and questioning youth. This led to a record amount of traffic on the group's website.

'On average, our site probably attracts about an average of 1500 visits a day,' cofounder Peggy Rajski tells Entertainment Weekly. 'Tuesday (28 February), we got 10,000. There’s the power of network TV.'

Several Glee cast members who attended opening night of Monty Python's Spamalot in Hollywood Tuesday talked to Gay Star News about the episode and its impact.

Jane Lynch, who has won an Emmy for her performance as cheerleading coach Sue Sylvester, is proud of the show's writers for their willingness to tackle tough issues of the day.

'I love what they are doing – they are being bold,' Lynch said. 'That's what I love about [creator and producer] Ryan Murphy. He says, 'Oh, this is going on? We need to address this.' That's what I love about him and what I love about our show.'

Iqbal Teba plays Principal Figgins on the show and supports telling some of the darker stories.

'There are kids who are dealing with things like this every day,' he said. 'Back in the day, most people wouldn't even want to discuss it. So now, we actually have a show that's watched by millions and millions of people all over the world and it will start a conversation. And that's what you need.'

Theba said he knows these kinds if episodes are resonating with young viewers who can benefit from them the most: 'I see them almost every day when you go out and I see the reaction. They love it. It's just a joy to be on a show like that.'

Josh Sussman plays newspaper editor Jacob Ben Isreal on the show and said he was deeply moved by the Karofsky episode and hopes others were too.

'In the news that past couple of years, there's been so many tragic stories of gay kids who committed suicide and were in the closet,' he said. 'This really dealt with that story having a football jock who is very closeted and very tormented with very intolerant parents.'

'When he's outed, he deals with the bullies at school then he goes home to his Facebook page where there's all sorts of cyber bullying. I think the show showed that killing yourself isn't the answer. It's so great that the show is really going into those storylines. It's so topical right now.'

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