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What’s Going On.. is the title of a confessional YouTube video starring a teary-eyed California teenager Jonah Mowry, whose silent and moving monologue about being bullied as a gay student drew millions of views on YouTube and words of encouragement from various celebrities in early December 2011.
The video was uploaded to YouTube on August 10th, 2011. At the time when the video was made, he was thirteen years old and about to start eighth grade. Jonah begins his monologue by describing the hardships of being bullied using a stack of white index cards. He then goes on to say that he has been bullied since first grade, started self-harming in second grade and was afraid to start in 8th grade because he felt that his peers hated him for being gay. He ends the video with a final card saying that despite all of this, he has a million reasons to be here.
After showing the video to a few close friends, Jonah shared the video on his personal Facebook page on December 1st. On December 3rd, Perez Hilton tweeted a link to the video to the musician Sia, whose song “Breathe Me” is featured in the video. That same day, Jonah created a Twitter account, @JonahMowryReal to thank Perez for his support.
When Perez Hilton discovered the video, he tweeted the link to other celebrities over the next several days in an effort to raise the awareness of Jonah’s videos. Several celebrities responded with supportive messages for Jonah via Twitter, including Rosie O’Donnell, Ricky Martin, Zooey Deschanel, Lady Gaga, Nick Jonas, and Paula Abdul. Kim Kardashian also blogged about the video on Celebuzz.
By December 8th, the video had over 961,000 Facebook shares and over 93,000 Twitter shares. A Facebook fan page was created on December 4th, 2011, which received over 34,000 likes in four days. His personal fan page was created the same day, receiving over 54,000 likes and nearly 20,000 people talking about him in the same amount of time.
On December 4th, YouTuber Jinxus25 uploaded a video of Jonah and a female friend discussing the video where he shows off his self-harm scars and says that “To the people who think that nobody likes me …almost my entire school loves me.” In four days, it received over one million views.
On December 5th, Jonah edited the video’s original description to combat the controversy surrounding people calling the video fake, which was crossposted to Perez Hilton that day:
So this video was made for my friends that had moved on to High School who were worried for me, to say to them that I was going to take a stand, and to the haters at my middle school that I’m not going anywhere. I am who I am.
Perez also linked to a question Jonah answered on Formspring from the summer where someone asked him what his main goal for the school year is. He answered “Make it through Alive. (im serious).” Jonah’s mother spoke to ABC News on December 6th, stating that she and Jonah were overwhelmed by the negative feedback but thankful at the same time for the support he has received. Jonah also responded to some tweets asking about the validity of his first video, acknowledging he was being overly cocky in the response video because he got excited over the attention his video was getting and that his message came across incorrectly.
Notable Responses and Parodies
The Globe and Mail – It did get better – and went viral – for this bullied teen
Los Angeles Times – O.C. gay teen Jonah Mowry’s video about being bullied goes viral
Perez Hilton – Real or Fake? The TRUTH About Jonah Mowry’s Video!
New York Daily News – Mom of bullied gay teen Jonah Mowry says he’s uplifted by support