Carly Pope Takes A Stand

Interview by Dana Jacoviello

Carly Pope is known to many as not only a wonderful actress, but a woman with a very big heart for causes. She is constantly doing good both online and offline. Carly is one of Bullies Keep Out first celebrity advocates, and we are honored to have her as part of the BKO family. We are grateful for all the support she has shown, and a big advocate for the causes we encompass.

I chatted with Carly on a few different topics, and she had some incredibly responses to in combatting bullying and hate. want to thank you so much for your support and becoming an advocate of Bullies Keep Out. We love having you on board as part of the BKO family.

Dana Jacoviello: A common out of the gate question is of course if you have ever experienced bullying yourself or someone you know, and if so, how did you handle it?

Carly Pope: I was fortunate, and I mean fortunate, to not experience any direct bullying towards me…or really ever witnessing any physical bullying towards anyone I knew. Growing up, I would have seen at times, some judging, mocking, name-calling, and disregard. It felt just like “kids being kids,” never more aggressive than that, but it doesn’t make it right.  I hope I was never was responsible for hurting anyone in that way. I certainly aimed not to be. But maybe, through apathy or inaction, I did. I truly hope that’s not the case. Even the most seemingly innocuous behavior, though, towards another can be severely traumatic to that person. We can never assume what someone else’s response will be, what causes another pain, or be ignorant and insensitive to the lasting effects of physical abuse towards another. I did quite a bit of volunteering in high school. I worked for kid’s help phone (a suicide prevention resource service), peer tutoring, and did soup kitchen meal lines on the streets of the downtown east side of Vancouver on various weekends. I think being of service to other people is so necessary, especially as a kid when we tend to be rather self-important. It reminds us that we’re not invincible and almost instantaneously ignites empathy. We’re all just human, after all. Differences don’t have to be threatening.

DJ: How do you feel on the ongoing bullying towards actors or sending them hate for having political opinions or feelings about serious issues?

CP: I think bullying in general is weak, full stop. Targeting celebrities is no different from targeting anyone else. It’s only, maybe, easier because celebrities have a more public profile and are more accessible, in general. The online forum is a flimsy veil for courage and also a rapid conduit for hate. It’s a powder keg, really. It can also be a really powerful tool for the positive in rallying together. Like, literally for rallies. Such as the women’s march, for instance, which came together directly in response to feeling disrespected, disenfranchised, and bullied.

DJ: Do you believe that an actor should be blacklisted for an opinion that does not agree with the majority, which is what most feel happens when some choose to speak out against what the so called “normal” stances should be in Hollywood?

CP: Look, if someone’s belief system borders on illegal or encourages violence then that’s likely not a stable individual wherever their politics may lie, within the realm of reason and ethics; however, I do believe that every person has the right to an opinion and the right to express their opinion. Differences in opinions don’t have to lead to uproars. They can also lead to uprisings. Thoughtfulness is a good thing. Conversation is essential, but I feel it absolutely depends on the intention of the message in the first place.

DJ: An interesting topic that we have seen not only all over social media, but also in celebrity families & friendships. People are feuding publicly and ending friendships and relationships. Why do you feel our society has become unable to respectfully coexist with differences?

CP: I’m not sure if I really understand the question fully, but I feel like people, celebrities or otherwise, are likely feuding or having conflict at the same rate as before. The only difference is the delivery system via social media and online sharing, in general. There’s a massive exposure of privacy, sometimes self-imposed or imposed by others, that has made domestic issues a lot more public. It’s an active choice to engage or not engage in that. That said, somehow people’s privacy, and breaching that, has become a kind of deranged currency, and I think that’s a straight up violation. Just because you’re in the public eye doesn’t mean you are destined, or should expect, to have your privacy poached. Unless, of course, you’re putting it out there for the public yourself.

DJ: What are your thoughts on the Kathy Griffin incident that caused extreme mixed feelings?

CP: To be totally honest, I didn’t really look into it much. Everything has become so politicized, for better and worse, there is a lot of anger, there is a lot of strife, and there is a lot of resistance. Comedians are, for the most part, knocking it out of the park with their sets and commentaries in order to recognize, maybe diffuse, and maybe insight that. This said, and as much as I don’t care for the current head of the country (no pun intended!), I saw the Photoshop, and I didn’t find it hilarious. Again, if someone’s message is promoting violence, or in this case an image, we’ve come to associate with terrorism. I think it it’s quite careless and crosses the wrong line.

DJ: You made a short film called Highway of Tears, can you discuss what the inspiration and motivation behind making this film was, and why it was so important to you?

CP: Thank you for bringing up the film! Highway of Tears is really close to my heart. I’m so proud of my producing partner (and the film’s director) Matt Smiley and I for our dedication to make this documentary together from the ground up. We both felt passionate to tell this story for different, but congruent reasons. The impetus for me, started in high school when I saw another documentary called “Through a Blue Lens” that showed the drug epidemic on the downtown east side of Vancouver (my hometown). A lot of the subjects in the film were prostitutes. I then read a non-fiction book a few years later called ‘Bad Date’ about the prostitutes, again, on the downtown east side of Vancouver, who fell victim to going missing or being murdered. A lot of these women had come down to the city from Northern BC where there had been news here and there of women/girls going missing and being murdered. A lot of them first nations. I also volunteered for options for sexual health (formerly Planned Parenthood BC) where our phone line assisted many people from many walks of life, and we had much awareness of the dates and its particular challenges/limits to assist amidst the crime that was occurring. And then the Robert Pickton news broke (a mass murderer of many of DTES women who were missing). Many of the women in the book were women that were victims of Pickton who had crossover with “Through a Blue Lens,” and the north, itself. There were a lot of concentric circles and, needless to say, I felt deeply about the subject. Mainly that so many women were being ignored, under-investigated, or straight up unprotected because of racism, discrimination, and the societal belief that they didn’t matter to anyone. Matt and I wanted to look into why, in Northern BC, this was an ongoing and unsolved problem.

DJ: There is a common notion, one in which we spread as well as advice to not engage in negativity, at times, not always, which is why we preach standing up and speaking out. It can make a difference in particular situations or even end up with positive outcome. Then you have the instances where it turns horribly wrong or gets worse. Do you agree, or do you feel it is never good to stay silent in any given situation?

CP: I wholeheartedly support that if you’re being true and honest and you have something to say or offer, you ought to. Being a leader for good, a champion for change, and a catalyst, is never a bad thing, in my opinion. There, of course, is a “know your audience” or “read the room” adage, but common sense can usually help guide that. As long as it’s safe, standing up and speaking out is inspiring.

DJ: Do you believe it is easy to fall down to that level of a bully in defending, or would the person be justified in their behavior choosing not to be a bystander?

CP: I think there’s an inherent difference between standing up for yourself (or someone else) and bullying. Bullying is to sever. Standing up is to salve.

DJ: What are some other causes that are important you?

I feel Planned Parenthood and any other sexual health resources is always going to top my list. Especially right now, it’s critical to fight for rights, to stay informed, and be protected. Everyone has a right to that. I also think there is still a lot of room for improvement, or maybe evolution, in the realm of mental health and addiction services.

DJ: What are some words of wisdom you might offer to those out there struggling?

CP: If you can find a way, reach out. Utilize the lifelines available such as a friend, a parent, a teacher, a counselor, a positive (stress positive) resource like a blog, book, or podcast. Seek out the light, not the dark. Trust you don’t deserve it. Be of service to others. Volunteer. Build your tribe with like-minded good ones.

DJ: Do you have anything you would like to add?

CP: What you’re doing is utterly motivating and commendable, Dana. You’re one of the good ones, and your soul shines bright. I still can’t believe we’ve never met! All the same, I can feel it way over here on the west. Keep up the crucial work!

 

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