Octavia Spencer Thinks We’re in Grave Danger of Overusing ‘Bullying’


Now, Octavia Spencer isn’t saying that Jennifer Livingston should not have used her local news pulpit to tell some asshole personal injury attorney to mind his own business and stop judging her body — Spencer is just saying that Livingston wasn’t “bullied,” per se. Speaking to a reporter at GLSEN’s Respect Awards in Beverly Hills, Spencer said, “She [Livingston] stood up for herself and I appreciate that. I don’t necessarily know that it was bullying.”

Octavia Spencer would know, too, since, according to E!, she recently directed a short film about bullying inspired by a Rudyard Kipling poem, which, knowing Kipling’s nationalistic propensities as we do, is probably an allegory for how the British Empire can totally oppress anyone, anytime, anywhere. Anyway, directing (and writing) that film helped show Spencer that bullying is really a relentless gauntlet that its victims have to run every single day. Bullying is a kid getting a daily punch in the arm from some goon who will grow up to sell used cars and eat meatloafs out of a slow cooker every Wednesday and Friday night for dinner. Or something. Spencer drew a distinction between “being criticized,” which is what unfortunately happened to Livingston, and “facing coercion or physical repercussions on a daily basis.” She added, “I think we have to be very careful about using and overusing the term [bullying] because we desensitize ourselves to it.”

Spencer cautioned, however, that she is no “bullying expert,” she’s just a woman who’s probably tired of hearing all the nuance leak out of the English language.

The Help‘s Octavia Spencer: Jennifer Livingston Wasn’t Bullied [E!]

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