Michael J. Fox’s Son Taught Him How To Perfectly Deal With Trolls on Twitter

Michael J. Fox's son teaches him to handle trolls
(YouTube/ The Graham Norton Show)

Anyone who’s spent more than 5 minutes on the internet knows that it isn’t always the nicest place. Sure, the internet allows you to connect with fans of your favorite obscure band or learn about literally anything at 3 AM – but the ability to be anonymous on social media emboldens people, sometimes leading them to say things they typically wouldn’t. In other words, social media is often home base for trolls with nothing better to do than mess with people for their own sick enjoyment.

If you’re new-ish to the internet you may be thinking, “sure, people troll online – but they only troll people who deserve it.” False. There is no target too pure for a troll on the prowl. During a recent appearance on The Graham Norton Show, even beloved actor and Parkinson’s advocate Michael J. Fox admitted to being on the receiving end of some thorough trolling.

Though Michael J. Fox’s son and daughter frequently help him manage his various social media accounts, Fox himself takes time to read comments and respond to his followers. Like any public figure with a social media presence, Fox encounters his share of trolls. Generally, though, he tries to ignore them.

Feeding the trolls only makes them stronger, so the best strategy is to ignore them altogether. However, there is one topic that Fox doesn’t let slide. We shouldn’t be surprised at this point, given the cesspool that is the internet – but recently, someone made a shitty comment about Parkinson’s on Twitter.

In the interview, Fox explains that he “wanted to answer this guy in some way.”

But how do you respond to a troll without giving them more fuel? Fortunately for Fox, his son Sam is well-versed in troll control. When dealing with a jerk on the internet, less is more. Fox’s son suggested that Fox simply respond “SMH,” though at the time he didn’t know what it meant.

SMH, or shaking my head, is the universal sign of disappointment. It’s an acknowledgment, but one that says, “buddy, that was so painfully stupid that I don’t even have the words to point out just how stupid it was.” It’s an invitation to evaluate your life choices, which incredibly, is exactly what this troll did.

Rather than double down, the troll dropped the act and stepped up. According to Fox, the reformed troll responded, “this is the funniest thing I’ve ever read in my life, you’re the king of the internet, I apologize for anything I said to you, blah, blah, blah.”

Let this be a lesson to anyone who encounters a troll in the wild. Don’t stoop to their level, but if you must respond, hit ‘em with the old “SMH.”

Boy’s Letter to Santa Goes Viral Because the Only Thing He Asks for Is Love

LGBTQ Santa Letter

Writing letters to Santa is one of the fun holiday traditions to do with your kids when they’re young. The letters can be fun time capsules for when they’re older, and it’s part of the magic of the season when they’re younger. They can be a great window into a child’s brain because kids DO NOT HOLD BACK with Santa Clause. Sometimes it can be funny! Other times, it can break your freaking heart.

The USPS posted a collection of letters kids have sent Santa in an effort to promote the USPS Operation Santa project, where donors can help “Santa” deliver the gift in need for the less fortunate kids in their community. Most of them are asking for things for their parents (a futon, so they don’t have to sleep on the couch and have back pain, etc.), but one especially heartbreaking letter they shared from a young boy had him wanting no gift other than love.

The letter, shared by the USPS, was from a boy named Will. He wrote:

“Dear Santa, do you support the LGBTQ community and if you speak to god can you tell him that I love him, and if he loves me for being gay?”

That is the type of thing that hits you right in the feels. Direct hit. I don’t know how any parent can read that letter, from a kid who is just looking for love and acceptance in his life, and not feel something.

Fortunately, he did get a response to his letter (presumably?). The letter was featured in the trailer for a new documentary on the USPS Operation Santa, which premieres this month.

There are plenty of ways to give back to your community during the holidays, and helping a kid believe in the magic of Santa is not a bad way to go.

Ryan Reynolds Cheers up Boy Without Friends on His Birthday

Reynolds Birthday Message

Moving can be hard on kids. You’re in a new school, your old friends are gone, and it can take some time to get adjusted. Moving right before a birthday sucks even more, and just serves to amplify that lonely feeling. An 8-year-old boy in British Columbia (that’s in Canada, for you less than Cosmopolitan types) was struggling after a recent move and was worried about turning 9 without any friends. So his parents put the call out on social media to have strangers send him cards, so his birthday would still be special.

Turns out he got 1,000 of them. And even better, movie star Ryan Reynolds sent the boy a video message relating to his struggle and wishing him a happy birthday. Let’s pause 10 seconds for our routine Ryan Reynolds appreciation. The Deadpool star, and girl-dad seemingly has a heart of freaking gold. He (and his wife Blake Lively) have donated millions this year to charities supporting COVID-19 response and charities focused on children. Reynolds helped reunite a child with his lost toy, bought a soccer team with Always Sunny star Rob McElhenney, and also found the time to write 400 thank you notes to the crew working on his new movie during the pandemic. He even went above and beyond to connect with a Deadpool cosplayer. And this isn’t even covering half of the great stuff he’s done this year.

So we are not surprised that Reynolds would make little Damien’s birthday one he will never forget.

Reynolds, who is also Canadian, told Damien he relates to his story because he went to a new school when he was a kid (a few of them) and remembers how alienating it felt. “I remember how alone I felt and unseen I felt,” he said.

“I guess the point is that you’re not alone.”

Reynolds wished him a happy birthday and said he hopes he gets to meet him in person one of these days.

His family told local media they were blown away by the message and were thrilled to see Damien’s expression change when he realized what was going on. They said the entire project of making their kid’s birthday extra special left them feeling profoundly grateful.

Now Damien can proudly go to school knowing Deadpool himself took the time to wish him a happy birthday.

After His Son Is Bullied for Dancing, Dad Starts a Nonprofit To Support Him

Dad starts nonprofit after son is bullied for dancing
(Youtube/DanceOn Chicago)

There’s a reason that so many coming-of-age movies feature bullies as the antagonists. For most kids, the closest they’ll get to a real-life supervillain is a mean kid with nothing better to do. There are a lot of ways to deal with bullies. There’s the revenge route, which is generally the one we see in movies. Though exciting in theory, bullying a bully just turns you into a different kind of bully (and we do not need any more of those). You can turn to friends for support, or you can turn your experience into something amazing.

Greg Long’s son Jimmy loved to dance. Not only did Jimmy love dancing, but he was talented. His talent and passion for dancing landed him in a school performance, showcasing his skills to his classmates. However, what should have been a celebration of hard-work turned into something sinister. Some of the students in the audience decided to hurl insults and slurs at the young dancer, emboldened by the fact that their seats were shrouded in darkness.

On the ride home, Long listened to his son and his friends discuss the unexpectedly taxing day. He recalled to TODAY, “I got to listen to how 8- or 9- or 12-year-olds process that kind of bigotry. Instead of getting angry, I decided to make a T-shirt for them. And I came up with, ‘Hey, we’re just going to dance on. We’re just going to move past this.’”

“Dance On” started as a T-shirt design, a bold statement about doing what you love even in the face of bullies. But this supportive dad wasn’t done. The idea behind the T-shirt stayed with Long, as he was certain other kids faced the same thing his son and his friends had.

Greg Long is the type of dad we all admire – the type of dad who isn’t content strictly being there for his own kids. Long wanted to support other kids like his son, showing all boys who loved dancing that it was more than ok. That they should be proud of doing what they love rather than afraid of being judged. Long started a nonprofit called Dance On, an organization that promotes acceptance.

The Dance On website explains, “Here at Dance On, we are driven by a single goal; to do our part in making the world a better place for all. We work to keep boys dancing, even in the face of adversity. Our hope is to raise awareness around acceptance, anti-bullying, and allowing all people to follow their passions… to #danceon!”

The organization has sold thousands of T-Shirts, given away scholarships to deserving dancers, and Jimmy has even spoken publicly on his anti-bullying stance (with his supportive dad right behind him, of course).

“I lost it,” Greg said of a 2018 speech given by Jimmy. “I admittedly had tears coming down my face, because the strength that it takes for somebody like that to stand in front of 20,000 people and say, ‘I’ve been bullied and I’m not going to let it stop me from what I like to do’ — it was a proud moment.”

“It’s been nice to be a part of this as opposed to just being a dad who claps very loudly in the back of the auditorium,” he said.

For as long as Jimmy is dancing, Greg will be clapping loudly. In the front row, and beyond.

“Be Kind Always,” NBA Player Befriends Bullied Girl With Cancer

Myles Turner and A’Myah Moon

One of the more heartbreaking experiences for a parent is when a kid suffers from bullying. It’s a helpless feeling, and it’s a problem across society. And while movements have been ongoing to combat bullying and increase awareness of it, there’s still a long way to go. This is why it’s powerful when celebrities and sports figures go out of their way to reach out to affected individuals.

A’Myah Moon is an 11-year-old girl with a rare form of cancer. As if that isn’t hard enough, she’s had to endure bullying at her school, culminating in another student pulling off her wig in school last month. Indiana Pacers center Myles Turner is from the same hometown, and the Texas native went out of his way to show support to Moon when the Pacers were in Dallas to face the Mavericks.

Turner heard about her story and invited Moon and her family to the game and spent some time with her prior to the game. He talked to her about how he used to get bullied as a kid.

“You can always be kind to people. No matter what they are doing to you, don’t ever let that affect how you are as a person,” he told her.

Turner, a former first-round draft pick, was a star at the University of Texas. He’s had a solid career in the NBA and is a key contributor for the fifth-place Pacers. But it also shows that players can have a much bigger influence off the court.

“The reason I do this isn’t for the cameras and that kind of stuff,” Turner told the Dallas Morning News. “Kids see us, and we’re larger than life. They see us out on the floor, kind of like superheroes in a sense, doing what we do. When they see us [up close] in person, it’s like, you realize I’m just a human being like you are, too, so I think getting that one-on-one time to talk to her like that is important.”

Turner wore shoes with Moon’s name on them and “Be Kind Always” during the game.

Bullied Boy Inspires Comedian to Raise $450k for Anti-Bullying Causes

Comedian Raises Money for Quaden

Earlier this week, a tragic video hit social media. A mother in Australia posted a video of her 9-year-old son in tears after being bullied at school. The boy, Quaden, was born with a common form of dwarfism. He has been ridiculed and mocked by other kids most of his life, and after the most recent incident, his mother posted the video and begs viewers to fully understand what bullying does to a child.

In the video, you can see the tear-stained boy, in between fits of sobs, say he wants to die. “This is the effect of bullying on a child who just wants to go to school and get an education,” his mom said. “But every single freaking day, something happens. Another episode, another bullying, another taunt, another name-calling.”

But then comedian Brad Williams, who also was born with a common form of dwarfism, stepped in. He wanted to take a stance against bullying. Williams started a GoFundMe to raise a small amount of money to send the boy and his family to Disney World.

But he had a larger vision in mind.

“This isn’t just for Quaden, this is for anyone who has been bullied in their lives and told they weren’t good enough,” Williams wrote on GoFundMe. “Let’s show Quaden and others, that there is good in the world and they are worthy of it.”

And, well, the internet answered the call. In less than a day, Williams blew past his goal, raising nearly half a million dollars (and counting).

And before you think Quaden and fam are about to go on the most blinged-out Disney World trip of all time, Williams has assured donors and his fans that the extra funds will be donated to anti-bullying causes.

So Quaden will still get the trip of a lifetime, and the backing of a celebrity who can relate to what he’s dealt with. And he also gets to see love and support pouring in from every part of the globe. Even other celebrities have come to his defense, with Wolverine himself (Hugh Jackman) posting a video.

The anti-bullying donations continue to grow, and this is how everyone feels for a change after the internet did something nice.

Tennessee Offers Full Scholarship to Boy Bullied for Homemade T-Shirt

Tennessee Offers Full Scholarship

Earlier this week, a story about a university and its fanbase rallying around a bullied student captivated the nation. A boy in Florida wore a homemade University of Tennessee shirt at his school for “college colors day.” He was devastated after getting bullied for his design, which is when his teacher posted about it on Facebook. Vols Nation came through, and the University engineered an outpouring of support. Most importantly, it made the boy’s design an official t-shirt in their shop.

The fansite crashed from so many orders, as Vols fans gobbled up the shirt whose proceeds are being donated to an anti-bullying charity (more than 50, 000 have been ordered). And now the story has taken another turn, as the University of Tennessee has offered the bullied boy a full scholarship.

In a statement, the University said it’s offering the boy “honorary admission” to the class of 2032 in addition to the four-year scholarship. The boy’s mother told University officials the family “has been deeply touched by the overwhelming outpouring from people around the world.”

The anti-bullying lesson and its message have even spread to other schools, as one elementary school in Pennsylvania adopted the idea of wearing orange in honor of anti-bullying for their spirit day. The principal was overwhelmed when the busses dropped off hundreds of his students, many clad in their own homemade orange shirts.

And the boy’s teacher updated her Facebook post, thanking everyone around the world for their support. She said it’s been an awesome week about learning to be kind.

“We’ve had lots of discussions about being kind, and I’m really excited to see my students step up their acts of kindness,” she said.

It was a cool gesture for Tennessee to adopt the shirt in the university store, but I feel like the kid has earned the scholarship at this point, at least for all the great press that this story has generated for the school. They might as well also throw in an honorary degree in graphic design, as he’s probably the best-selling elementary school designer in history.

And if you want to join the movement, you can grab the shirt from the official team shop.

‘Batman’ Accompanies Bullied 3-Yr-Old Girl to Preschool

Batman Escorts Bullied 3-Yr-Old
(Facebook/The Batman of Spring Hill)

Despite the recent awareness of bullying and the measures to quell it, sadly, it persists. As a parent, it can be heartbreaking to send your kid off to a bad environment. That’s why we all love stories where the bullied triumph over torment. So here’s another one for you, with a cameo from everyone’s favorite Gotham-based superhero.

A 3-year-old preschooler in Florida was having trouble with bullies at her school. She came home from school one day with bruises, the next with a black eye – apparently, someone threw a shoe at her. Her mom contacted the school, but when nothing changed, she signaled for help. That’s when Batman, or, more accurately, The Batman Of Spring Hill answered the call.

The caped crusader accompanied the girl to school to help her feel better.

Her mom said having Batman there made a big difference for her daughter. She also said that the school has since moved her daughter into an advanced placement class.

“I’m really hoping that a new classroom and having Batman by her side, can change the outcome altogether,” she said. “Batman really saved the day!”

Upperclassmen Help 14-Yr-Old Boy Who Had a Tough Time at His New High School

Reidsville Upperclassmen sitting with Cale

Freshman year of high school can be a difficult time for anyone, but Cale Wrenn was having a particularly tough first few days. The 14-year-old North Carolina teen who’s attending Reidsville High School was struggling to make friends, and worse, was being bullied for his height.

Cale expressed his frustration to his older sister, Leah, telling her he had to eat lunch alone because a few of his peers thought “he was a loser.” Like any sibling, Leah was moved by her brother’s plight, deciding to post the conversation with Cale to a post on her Twitter account.

Leah’s post immediately caught fire, receiving thousands of comments from people all over the world giving Cale positive affirmation and support. However, a group of teens in Cale’s own community caught wind of the post and did a lot more than send well wishes.

Senior Demontez Canada, a member of the football and basketball teams told local news station WLKY “We decided to catch [Cale] off guard at lunch and have lunch with him and show him around the school and make sure he was OK and give him new friends.” The next day, Canada, along with several of his classmates, did just that. They shared a photo on Twitter, with one of his classmates adding “he always got a place at my table.”

Next up was the Reidsville football team, who posted this photo to their Twitter account:

Leah and Cale were both floored by the outpouring of support.

Cale telling the news outlet “It felt really nice to know that there are people who care,” then commenting on the photo of him and his new friends:

Although Cale is thankful for the massive showing of support, he’s aware not every kid like him will be so lucky. “I know I’m not the only person that sits alone at lunch. In different periods there are different freshmen and juniors and sophomores who sit alone at lunch and I just wish we can do something for them, too. It felt kind of weird, it just being me who got reached out to and I wish we could do something for all of the people who sit alone, give them all someone to sit with at lunch,” said Wrenn.

With just a few moments of their time, these teens gave Cale a day he will never forget, as well as a lesson that will carry him well beyond high school. Cale sharing with the news station “The good part about having friends is that you always have somebody to talk to if you ever need anything.”

Bullied for Homemade Tee, Boy’s Design Is Now Official Team Merch

Bullied Boys Design is Official Merch
(Facebook/Laura Snyder Twitter/UTVolShop)

Few things are as provincial as college sports, so I can imagine how tough it would be to support a rival school in hostile territory. Still, a boy in Florida was so excited for his school’s “college colors” day that he saw it as a chance to show his love for the University of Tennessee.

He didn’t have any official UT gear, so he drew a logo and pinned it to an orange shirt. His pride was cut down after getting mocked mercilessly by other kids at the school and the devastated boy was reduced to tears, according to his teacher.

But that’s not where this story ends. His teacher posted about it on Facebook and Tennessee fans came through with an outpouring of gear and support. And the University of Tennessee even adopted the boy’s design to sell as an official shirt in its team shop.

UT is donating a portion of every sale to an anti-bullying organization and the response has been overwhelming so far.

The boy has since received so many different things from UT fans that the entire class got to share in the spoils, the teacher wrote on Facebook.

“While the kids were filling water bottles and waiting to water down their towels, it made this teacher so proud to see the kids congratulating my student,” she wrote. “High fives, hugs, pats on the back could be seen from the kids. This experience is uniting my class even more than I could have imagined, and it was truly amazing to witness!!”

And the boy’s mom was overjoyed by the support, according to a letter she sent the teacher.

“I can tell you that I spent a lot of my day reading all the kind words in support of my son and am touched beyond words,” his mother wrote.

Tennessee got so many orders for the shirt that the site crashed. You can grab yours from the official fan shop.